How to Tell If Your Cut Needs Stitches

Aug 02, 2023
How to Tell If Your Cut Needs Stitches
If you have a cut and think you might need stitches, read on to discover helpful clues about when to seek medical attention.

Injuries are an inevitable part of life. They’re bound to happen at one point or another. So, if you cut yourself somehow — whether you slice your hand open while preparing food or gash your knee after falling on gravel — how do you know if you should take a trip to urgent care for stitches or if you should care for your wound on your own?

Because cuts run the risk of infection, our team at San Feliz Urgent Care in Glendale, California, offers information to help you know when to seek urgent medical care.

What stitches can do for you

Stitches work just like the threads in clothing that hold garments together. They’re made up of nylon or silk to help hold your skin together while it heals. Stitches can also minimize your risk of infection and scarring.

When a cut needs stitches

Many things can cue you in as to when your injury might need stitches, including both the size and location of the cut. 

You should seek medical attention if your cut is:

  • Deep
  • More than one-half inch long
  • Has ragged edges
  • Has debris lodged inside it
  • Can’t be closed with minimal pressure

The same goes if your cut is spurting blood, bleeds through a bandage, or keeps bleeding after applying pressure for 10 minutes. You also need to seek medical care if your injury is located near a joint, on your genitals, or anywhere around your face. 

You might also need a tetanus shot along with stitches if your cut was the result of an animal bite, a rusty object, or a deep and pointed object, such as a nail.

In addition, seek immediate medical care if you notice any signs that your cut is infected. These symptoms include fever, chills, redness around the wound, pus, or drainage. This could indicate that you need antibiotics in addition to stitches.

Next steps for medical care

If you’re still unsure whether or not your injury requires stitches, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Come and see our team for an evaluation and get the care you need for your cut. We’ll also advise you on how to make sure it heals properly. 

As you’re on your way to see us, keep pressure on your wound and try not to clean any debris from your cut yourself, as this could make the bleeding worse.

If you’ve cut yourself and question how to properly care for it, contact our team for an appointment by calling our friendly staff at 818-296-0201 or using our online booking tool today.