Bruising under a toenail or fingernail, also referred to as a subungual hematoma, can occur when you drop something heavy on your toe or slam your finger in a door. Runners and people that wear shoes that are too small may experience bleeding under the toenails due to pounding of the toe box on the toes. People undergoing chemotherapy are also prone to nail problems, including bruising. Trauma causes the area underneath the nail to bleed. The bleeding is visible through the nail and may cause throbbing pressure and pain. Proper treatment is required to relieve discomfort.
Things You’ll Need
Remove any jewelry, gloves or socks from the affected hand or foot.
Elevate the affected hand or foot above heart level to reduce swelling and pain.
Place an ice pack on the bruised nail every hour for 20 minutes. Fill a plastic resealable bag with ice and wrap it in a towel to act as an ice pack, or use an unopened bag of frozen vegetables. The ice will soothe the pain and reduce swelling.
Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to help relief discomfort.
Seek doctor’s treatment if the area is continuously painful and covers more than 25 percent of the nail. Your doctor may drain the area by making a hole in the nail above the bleeding with a battery-operated heating device or heated nail or paper clip. The blood drains through the hole in the nail and pressure and pain are relieved. Antibacterial ointment and a bandage are applied to the nail.
Consult your doctor if your bruised nail is the result of chemotherapy. Your doctor will be able to provide the correct treatment and care depending on the severity of the condition.
Emedicine Health: Subungual Hematoma – Self-Care At Home; Christine L. Kukula, et al.
Emedicine Health: Subungual Hematoma (Bleeding Under Nail) – Medical Treatment; Christina L. Kukula, et al.
WebMD: Subungual Hematoma
WebMD: Caring for Your Skin, Hair, and Nails During Chemotherapy; Katherine Kam