What To Do When You Have Blood Under A Toenail

By Dr. Gary Prant DPM

Arbor Foot Health CenterHappy toe Sad toe

Say you drop something on one of your big toenails and there is blood under the toenail – what do you do?

A good step would to elevate the foot above the level of your heart and perhaps apply an icepack to the top of your foot just behind the great toe. Note:  If you are diabetic or have any type of circulation problem, avoid the ice on your foot.

If the blood under the toenail is very painful it would be a good idea to see a doctor and have them make a hole in the toenail to reduce the pressure and pain. (A hole can be made in the toenail with little to no pain.) If you dropped something heavy on the toenail or hit on something very hard, then an x-ray might be in order to check of the toe is broken.

What if there is blood under the toenail from a minor injury – or even from something like a too tight shoe? Well, if the toenail doesn’t hurt simply do nothing! The red area will work its way out to the end of the nail as the nail grows out.

What you shouldn’t do is remove the toenail if it is slightly loose. Soak the foot; apply topical antibiotic and a bandaid or sterile dressing that holds the toenail in place. If the toenail is removed, the skin underneath often “pouches up” at the end of the toe and it becomes difficult for the new toenail to grow in correctly.

With proper care your toenail should grow and look normal.

Video: What to do if you have a loose toenail.



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