Why do paper cuts on fingers hurt so much? The people from Today I Found Out wanted to know the same thing.
The generally accepted reason paper cuts on fingers are so painful primarily lies in the fact that you usually get them on your fingers, particularly your fingertips. Fingertips and hands have significantly more nociceptors (nerve fibers) per square millimeter than most of the rest of your body, such as your legs, arms, stomach area, etc. This ends up making cuts on your fingertips feel significantly more painful than cuts elsewhere, even when they are produced by paper or similar objects.
Why Do Paper Cuts On Fingers Hurt So Much?
The generally accepted reason why paper cuts hurt so much is because you get them usually on your fingers, primarily, your finger tips. Your hands have significantly more nociceptors or nerve fibers per square millimeter than most of the rest of your body.
This ends up making cuts on your fingertips feel significantly more painful than cuts elsewhere.
But why do paper cuts on fingers in particular seem to hurt more? This is thought to be because the edges of paper are much more dull and flexible than pocket knives and other sharp objects. When the paper cuts your flesh it does much more microscopic damage.
Think of it as a dull knife used to cut into steak. It involves much more sawing than with a sharp knife and the meat ends up much more mutilated. The paper cuts produce the same type of damage but more shallow on the skin. Most of the nerves that are the most susceptible to pain are near the surface of the skin.
Paper cuts on fingers, because they are shallow, tend to bleed less and sometimes not at all. This leaves the wound opened up to air and other irritants.