Everything You Need to Know About Nail Trauma

nail traumaNail trauma is extremely common, probably more so than you think. The good news is, regardless of the cause, the prognosis is typically an excellent one. That being said, if you experience any type of nail-related trauma issues, there’s usually no reason to panic.

What is Nail Trauma

Simply put, nail trauma is injury of the nail. Causes include:

  • Nail fungus
  • A splinter that works its way under the nail
  • Nail biting
  • Dropping something on the nail
  • Accidentally tearing the nail
  • Ill-fitting shoes (in the case of toenail trauma)

Sometimes, these incidents result in subungual hematoma, which is the pooling of blood under the injured nail. This is quite painful and might even cause the affected toe or finger to throb.

In the majority of cases, the injury remains noticeable until the nail grows out. Toenails take approximately 4 months to completely regenerate. Fingernails grow out in roughly half that time.

Because, it’s not possible to attach an existing nail back on the nail bed, re-growth is the only option.


Many of the symptoms, of this kind of trauma, mimic the symptoms caused by toenail fungus. It’s necessary to treat toenail fungus as soon as you realize there’s an issue. Ignored, it only gets worse. It never goes away on its own. Signs to watch for include:

  • Thickening nails
  • Nail deformity
  • A nail separating from the nail bed underneath
  • Splitting or cracked nails

Getting a Diagnosis and Treatment

Contact a physician in the event that blood under the nail covers at least half of the surface. If you notice blood under a nail that hasn’t been subjected to trauma, it’s also time to seek professional assistance.

Treatment for subungual hematoma isn’t complicated. In fact, if the hematoma is small, there’s no harm in self-treatment. Of course, if you prefer professional help, it’s certainly a viable option.

Simply heat a needle or even the tip of a paper clip, until it’s red-hot. Gently apply pressure and boar a tiny hole through the nail. This won’t take long, because the needle or paper clip is so hot.

Please note, after the blood has drained out from under the nail, the nail will probably remain discolored afterwards.

If you have a somewhat large tear, under your nail, your doctor may have to remove the nail in order to repair the injury with stitches.


As mentioned above, preventing nail trauma is relatively easy. Don’t bite your fingernails and avoid wearing tight shoes. In addition, keep your toenails trimmed and your feet as clean and dry as possible. This helps to eliminate the possibility of nail fungus, in the future.


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