Red Streak Going Up Towards Arm After Hand Infection

Q: I am a 39 year old female who has had several infections in the left index fingertip. Several years ago a doctor told me it’s from biting my nails. Hence I stopped biting my nails so that I would stop getting the infection. I woke up the other morning and my finger was sore. Later that day, my finger started swelling up and the same type of infection was there again. When I woke up today; it is warm to touch. I also have a red streak going up my left arm, about half way up my forearm, and it is warm to touch. I am completely baffled because I didn’t bite my finger nail. I didn’t cut or scrap or burn or have any trauma on my finger. Please help.

– By JFeezie


You need immediate medical attention. Visit your nearest doctor/ health center at the earliest!

You may read more about this condition in which a red line runs up over towards arm here. It was covered here for a person with lymphangitis.

At the moment, your finger is infected and the infection is spreading through lymph channels. So visit a doctor at the earliest. You need some antibiotic treatment. Let your doctor suggest the appropriate medication according to your profile and allergic status.

Pain (specifically, throbbing), warmth in the area and redness are all signs of infection. Infections respond well to antibiotics. If delayed, it will spread quite fast. So it will be advisable to act fast.

Why Do Such Infections Occur?

Nail biting is one of the causes. This is because our skin surface is covered with a lot of bacterial population all the time, like staphylococcus etc. Any breach in the skin lets these bacteria go into the pulp flesh and lead to infection. While biting nail, we cause minor breaches in the skin surface.

Nail biting is ruled out now in your case. However, the index finger and the thumb are still very vulnerable to minor traumas. This is so because they are used very often. Sometimes, dryness of the skin also contributes to the injuries. Keep your skin well moistened by applying any moisturizing lotion.

Later, you may consider wearing rubber gloves during activities like gardening, cleaning the home and any other activity you feel that may cause an infection.

But, at the moment it’s a medical emergency and you should go to the medical center at the earliest.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Lymphangitis After a Finger Infection

  1. Divid Anderson

    I’ve recently got this infection on my pointer finger and I woke up Saturday with my arm very sore. I thought I may have slep on it wrong do u ignored it. As the day went on it was still sore to touch and squeeze at some places but it had gone down from the morning. I woke up Sunday (today) with a faint red line on the in side of my elbow. In this Lymphatic? Amd what should I do

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Does it still pain?

      If you have any pain/ swelling with the red line, it may be your lymphatics. Is such cases, you need to take an antibiotic course at the earliest.

  2. Ruth Bryson

    I am the gardiun of my grand daughter she will be 8 in a couple months. Yesterday she said her ring finger was hurting, after a close look I noticed it looked infected around her finger nail. I had her soak it in warm water with Epsom salt, today I noticed a red line going from there nail towards the palm.. What can I do?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      And is it paining or any swelling there? If yes, this is an infection. She needs to be on antibiotics at the earliest.