How to Know if a Cut Needs Stitches

July 19, 2022
A little girl getting a cut on her knee cleaned up at a doctor's office

Getting a bad cut is annoying at best and extremely painful at worst. And while we’ve all gotten cuts before, not all of us have had to get stitches. This poses the question: How do you know if a cut needs stitches? At PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we’ve seen our fair share of cuts and scrapes, and we’re happy to break down some tell-tale signs that a cut needs to get stitched up.

Signs That a Cut Needs Stitches

If your wound meets any of the following criteria, it may need stitches or other medical treatment:

  • The cut is deep – If your cut is deeper than a quarter of an inch, it may be too deep to heal properly without stitches.
  • Deep body structures are visible – If fat, bone, or muscle are visible due to the wound, you will probably need stitches.
  • Pressure doesn’t help – If you put pressure on the wound for 15 minutes and it still continues to bleed, you may need stitches.
  • Cosmetic concerns – If your cut is on your face and you’re concerned about scarring, stitches can help.
  • The cut is over a joint – If the cut is over a joint and the edges open when you move the joint, there’s a good chance you’ll need stitches.
  • The cut was made by a dirty object – If the cut was made by a dirty or rusty object, you may need stitches and additional medical attention to prevent an infection.

Signs Stitches May Not Be Necessary

Some promising signs you won’t need stitches include:

  • The wound is shallow – If it appears to be a surface cut, odds are it will heal on its own.
  • The cut is smooth – If the cut has smooth edges that stay together as you move, you probably won’t need stitches.
  • It is a puncture wound – Puncture wounds are usually smaller in size and are less likely to scar. Additionally, they are more difficult to clean, so stitching them up may risk sealing in an infection.

PhysicianOne Urgent Care Can Help Determine Whether Stitches Are Necessary

If you have a cut and aren’t sure if it needs stitches or not, turn to the expert medical team at PhysicianOne Urgent Care. We’re open 365 days per year at flexible hours, so you can come in when it’s convenient for you. Best of all, no appointment is necessary. Simply walk into any of our local urgent care centers and we’ll be able to give you the quick and effective treatment you need. Our top-notch medical professionals will take a look at your cut and determine whether stitches are necessary. If they are, we can perform the procedure right at our center, so you can get back home and get back to healing in no time. We even offer a 24/7 telemedicine service if you want to speak with one of our professionals from the comfort of your own home. For more information or to schedule a Virtual Visit, contact us today at 860-650-3848.

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