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Hematoma under the toenail

Updated on 8 July 2024

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Subungual hematoma is a fairly frequent toenail injury caused by an accumulation of blood following a sudden or repeated shock.

Although toenail hematomas are typically benign, they can become extremely painful and possibly indicate the existence of a more serious issue.

It’s critical to understand how to detect a traumatic nail condition in order to get the help you need.

So, let’s look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for a toenail hematoma.

Symptoms of a hematoma under the toenail

Subungual hematoma is a very straightforward to recognize condition since it usually arises after a blow or a squeeze.

It can be recognized based on signs like:

  • Sharp pain in the affected toe
  • A discoloration of the nail towards blue, purple or black
  • A pulsating or throbbing sensation in the affected area
  • A toe that is sensitive to touch
  • Swelling of the painful toe
  • A sore nail that lifts
  • Painful adjacent toes

Apart from the unattractive look, toenail hematoma seldom results in significant consequences.

However, in certain cases, it might exacerbate or induce new issues.

The following issues may arise:

  • Partial detachment of the nail
  • If the base of the nail is affected, a complete fall off
  • Infection of the nail
  • Fungal infection such as nail fungus
  • A nail that grows back in a deformed way
  • An ingrown toenail (onychocryptosis)

If a hematoma develops and does not heal correctly, it is suggested that you consult a doctor or a podiatrist to determine the best course of action.

Similar conditions

The darkening of the damaged nail is one of the most common signs of this type of injury.

Other foot problems, on the other hand, might produce a similar change in the look of the toes.

These plantar issues include the following:

The similarity of the various foot lesions might be perplexing.
When in doubt, seek the advice of a podiatrist for a definitive diagnosis of a hematoma.

What can cause a subungual hematoma 

Hematomas under the toenails are mostly caused by external stressors since the feet are particularly sensitive to trauma.

Here are several examples:

  • Crushing of the toe
  • The impact of a heavy object on the toe
  • A series of microtraumas suffered by the toenail
  • A badly cut or badly maintained nail
  • A standing position maintained for too long

A buildup of blood under the toenail can also result from a phalanx fracture.

Consult a medical expert, such as a podiatrist, to rule out the potential of a big toe fracture.

Subungual hematoma prevention

The majority of toenail hematomas are caused by abrupt forefoot trauma.

However, a tiny percentage of them are caused by a series of mild traumas.

As a result, a variety of preventative steps may be implemented to decrease the probability of this occurring.

These may include the following:

  • Choosing shoes that provide good support for the foot without compressing the toes
  • Reducing the use of shoes such as sandals, which expose the toes
  • Avoiding wearing high heels too often
  • When working in a high-risk job or doing manual labor, wear boots with steel toes
  • Maintain toenails regularly, avoiding cutting them too short or letting them grow too long
  • Properly tie shoes
  • Reduce time spent barefoot

How to relieve a hematoma under the toenail quickly

A hematoma under the toenail does not occur in all foot injuries.

However, having some treatments on hand to ease the discomfort it causes is always a good idea.

Here are some suggestions for relieving the pain of a subungual hematoma temporarily:

  • Apply ice to the toe if it is swollen
  • Take a small dose of painkiller
  • Once or twice a day, soak your feet in saline water
  • Application of antibiotic cream, followed by a protective bandage on the nail

Treatments available at the clinic

Hematomas under the toes often heal on their own.

Those that persist, on the other hand, might cause significant discomfort if left untreated.

The treatment of a subungual hematoma by a podiatrist typically focuses on foot care, which helps drain the collected blood.

Though, the podiatrist may also suspect that a fracture is present.

In this instance, a digital x-ray of the foot may be recommended by the podiatrist.

Finally, if the hematoma has created an infection, the podiatrist has the authority to treat it with antibiotics.

PiedReseau – Learn more

Do you want to learn more about toenail hematoma? That type of information is regularly published on our website!

Though, despite the fact that the PiedReseau website contains lots of useful information, nothing matches an actual consultation in a clinic.

Take care of your feet, they’re precious!

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