Dealing with a Bruised Fingernail
A bruised fingernail is usually the result of a nail and finger injury which results in a collection of blood under the nail. Our hands and fingers are at the forefront of much of our day to day activities and this makes our fingernails very vulnerable to injuries. You may accidentally hammer your hand while putting in a nail or someone may accidentally slam a door shut on your finger. Any of these injuries can be hard on the nails and leave it with a bruise.
Such an injury is called subungual hematoma and it usually appears first as a dark purple or red colored bruise on the nail. It eventually fades to blue. In the early hours after the injury it is likely to hurt a lot and the whole finger is likely to throb. It can be an annoyance or if coupled with other significant nail injury it can be hard to carry on your daily routine.
If your bruised fingernail has more that 25 percent bruise and there are accompanying deformities of shape of your finger, it is advisable to seek medical help immediately. A heavily bruised nail may need to be drained and this is best done in a medical setting. The pressure of the blood pooled under the nail will be too painful to deal with otherwise. While there are websites offering detailed advice on how to use a heated needle and drain the blood, it is best to leave that to the doctors and to have it done in a sterile environment.
More typically, a bruised finger nail only has a small patch of clotted blood and this is something that you can easily deal with at home. You need to use common sense and good judgment in dealing with the problem.
You should remove all jewelry in that finger and hand as swelling is likely to accompany a bruised fingernail and it can be dangerous to have a jewelry cutting off blood supply.
You should wash and clean the finger and nail and apply a clean bandage to the area.
You should also keep the finger elevated above the heart as this will help reduce the throbbing sensation.
Over-the-counter painkillers can be useful in dealing with the pain associated with a bruised finger nail.
Ice or cold compress is a good way of dealing with overall swelling. You can wrap ice in a clean towel and place it on the injured hand or you can use a packet of frozen food wrapped in a towel also. This cold compress can also help deal with the pain and it may also serve to reduce the throbbing associated with a bruised fingernail.
Sometimes depending on the exact place of the trauma on your fingernail, the nail may also break and it may eventually fall off. This is not anything to panic about. It will grow back in a month or so and while the finger may look disfigured for a while it should not be a cause for concern.
Immediately after the injury and during the process of healing always keep the area clean. Being careless may lead to an infection and that can lead to real complications. Poking or peeling the nail or scraping the area with alien objects is all highly unadvisable. It is better to deal with a cosmetic problem for a while rather than end up with a bacterial infection. A bruised fingernail is a minor problem compared to an infected finger and it is critical to make sure that you avoid any likelihood of such a development.