A subungual hematoma is blood under a fingernail or toenail. It’s caused by hitting the nail with an object such as a hammer. Or it can happen if you pinch it in a door or drawer. The hematoma can cause throbbing pain in the hurt finger or toe.
Your doctor may have relieved the pain by making a small hole in the nail. This lets the blood drain out. You may have had a shot to prevent a tetanus infection.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home? Raise the arm or leg with the affected nail. Put ice or a cold pack on the finger or toe for up to 20 minutes at a time to help relieve the pain. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. If the nail falls off, soak your finger or toe in soapy water daily. After soaking, dry the finger or toe. Cover it with a bandage. When should you call for help? Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
You have symptoms of infection, such as: Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness. Red streaks leading from the area. Pus draining from the area. A fever. Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if: