What is a Bruising under the nail?

Bruising under the nail is an accumulation of blood. Usually, it occurs after a blow to your nail or after your finger has become stuck. Read all about the symptoms of bruising under the nail and find out what you can do about it.

What are the symptoms of bruising under the nail?

A bruise under your nail is often clearly visible from the blue to black color. With large bruises, it covers the entire nail. The bruise can be very painful for the first few hours. This is because the amount of blood under the nail increases and presses harder and harder on the sensitive nail bed. The nail discolors and eventually turns almost black. The trouble will reduce after a few days. After a few weeks (part of), the nail can come off, fall off, and be replaced by a new nail.

How does bruising occur under the nail?

A bruise under your nail is usually caused simply by bad luck. Well-known examples are accidentally hitting the nail with a hammer or getting a finger in the door. A lesser-known cause occurs with an athlete’s toenails. When they suddenly come to a standstill from a quick movement, the feet in the shoes shoot forward. This forward shot can hit so hard that a bruise will develop under the toenail. Too narrow shoes can also cause bruising due to excessive pressure on the nail.

Is bruising under the nail serious?

A bruise under the nail is not dangerous. There is no need to do anything about small bruises that do not hurt further. The nail may come off and falls off afterward. A new nail will grow within a few weeks to months. Large bruises under your nail can be painful. Making a small place in your nail, in the center of the bruise, and allowing the blood to drain from under your nail, you can reduce the pressure. Read below how you can best approach this.

In principle, you can remedy a bruise below your nail yourself. Are you worried, or don’t you dare to pierce your nail? Then go to the doctor.

What can I do about a bruise under my nail?

A bruise under your nail can be very painful due to the pressure of the blood. You can easily relieve this pressure by making a small hole in your nail in the middle of your bruise. How to proceed:

  • Heat a small sharp object like a needle or bent paper clip in a gas flame until it is glowing red.
  • Keep the hot tip gently on the nail; no pressing is necessary.
  • If you can find a small hole in the nail and the blood flows out, you can remove the needle or paper clip.
  • Make sure that you do not put pressure on the needle or paper clip to shoot through the nail into the nail bed.

Often you don’t feel any extra pain, but you feel that the pressure under your nail decreases. It’s smart to keep a tissue or washcloth handy to dab away the blood.

How can I prevent bruising under my nail?

Usually, a bruise under the nail is just bad luck. So there is nothing you can do about this. In some cases, shoes that are too small are the cause. Therefore, always make sure you wear the right size shoes.

Learn More