Blood Under the Nail

Emergencies & Injuries

Bleeding under a nail after any injury to a finger or toe can be very painful. Common causes are single traumas, such as shutting a finger in a door, and repetitive trauma such as toes pounding the front of overly tight shoes or cleats. Trauma to the tissue under the nail bed usually causes the blood to collect, leading to pressure and pain because the blood is unable to escape.

Prevention

  • Wear shoes that fit comfortably and allow ample room in the toe box.

Treatment

Home care    Home Care

  • Apply ice after any injury to minimize pain and swelling.
  • Use a pain medicine (analgesic) such as ibuprofen (advil, motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol) per package instructions.
  • Attempting to drain the blood yourself is not advisable due to risk of infection and permanent injury to the nail matrix.

Professional care   Professional Care

Many medical facilities can easily drain the blood from beneath the nail to relieve pressure and pain.

Seek medical attention if:

  • You experience severe pain, swelling, redness, fever, or pus
  • Your tetanus vaccination status is unknown