At some point in life many people would have experienced significant pain owing to bruised toenail. It is quite common to get injured with the toenail as one hit across hard/sharp objects or due to accidental fall. Though it is a small thing to develop bruised toenail, still it is painful. If the injury is moderate, fluid gets collected in the injured toenail which is known as sublingual hematoma in medical terms. The skin below the toenail would contain nerves and that is why the person would feel the pain. Nail does not have nerves in it and is composed of tough protein.
- The normal color of the nail changes and gets discolored in the injured toe.
- The nail may look little reddish filled with blood or fluid like pus.
- Pain may range from mild to severe depending on the intensity of injury.
Causes Of Bruised Toenail :
Often toenail get injured due to trauma or injury and many factors can cause toenail injury.
1. Trauma – Running and jogging is the major cause for bruised toenail. Doing rigorous workouts in a gym and strenuous physical activities can cause injury to the toenail.
2. Injury – Bruised toenail can occur when you hit your toe with hard surface or sometimes when heavy objects fell on your foot. If you slip down while walking fast it can hurt and injure your toenail developing bruise. If you accidentally bang your foot on something hard it can definitely cause injury.
3. Wearing Improper Footwear – Either wearing loose fitting shoes/slippers or wearing tight shoes can injure your toes. Wearing shoes that are smaller than the actual length of your foot can exert pressure continuously on the feet causing inflammation and pain. Wearing pointed shoes or narrow ones can injure the toenail leading to bruised toes.
4. People who are not trimming their nails regularly are more likely to develop injury than others.
It is better to prevent any injury occurring to the toenail than to treat it. Treatment for bruised toenail depends on the severity of the injury. If there is bleeding and severe pain in the injured toe you need to see your doctor promptly. In some cases the toenail gets so badly injured that it may fall off the nail bed and gets discolored.
Your doctor can help you out from pain and poorly damaged toenail by binding it with sterilized bandage or by cutting it partially or totally to prevent any infection. Injured toenail on account of getting stuck between gates can cause significant pain and damage. The nail gets blackened due to quick blood flow to the site of injury. In such cases your doctor would apply topical anesthetic over the site of injury and prescribe painkillers to control the pain. If there is inflammation of nail anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken.
For some cases, the doctor may drain off the excess of blood by making a hole in the middle of nail using sterilized tool and gently squeeze the fluid out. This can prevent further infection and reduces pain in addition to healing it quickly. Antibiotics are prescribed for bruised toenail if the injury has developed due to infection.
Bruised Toenail Home Remedies :
- For mild injury on the toenails or fingernails you can manage the symptoms at home.
- Firstly soak your feet in lukewarm water that contains Epsom salt (even common salt can help) for 10 minutes. This can provide quick relief from inflammation and pain.
- Alternatively if you have ice-cubes readily apply ice pack on the site of injury which prevents further swelling.
- In case the nail gets torn from the nail-bed you can gently cut it short with nail trimmer. After washing it with warm water you can cover it with bandage.
- Wear cushioning pads inside your shoes if you have to move on. This would certainly reduce the pressure on the bruised nail.
- Soak the toenails several times in warm water to help in relieving inflammation and pain.
- If there is pain and inflammation OTC medications can be taken.
- Take complete rest if you have bad injury on your toes. Moving with injured toes can aggravate the pain.
Tips To Prevent Injury :
- Elderly people should be careful while walking or running to prevent any accidental injury or fall.
- If you are a regular runner or jogger wear appropriate shoes.
- For a casual runner you can wear slightly bigger size shoe than regular ones to give some space to your toes.
- Nails can be trimmed off regularly. Many people would not care about toenails as they take care only of fingernails.
How Long Will It Take To Heal?
- Time taken for complete healing of toenail injury depends on the intensity of injury. It can take anywhere from couple of days to several days or weeks if the toenail gets severely injured.
- If the nail gets blackened during injury it can take 2-3 months for the nail to grow again completely. It is for you to protect your toe by keeping it covered with bandage to prevent any infection.
- In case your doctor has removed the injured nail partially take precautions until it heals. It is quite common for getting the same toe injured and bruised over and again due to carelessness.