Bruised Toenail, Causes, Falling Off, Pain, No Pain, Treatment

A bruised toenail is not a minor thing as it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Blood and fluids will start building up inside and below the toenail immediately you get injured. The condition is referred to as subungual hematoma.

In reality, it is not your toenail that will get bruised, but the skin that is below the nail. A typical toenail comprises of dead tissues. The symptoms of a toenail that is bruised can include:

  • Pain in the entire region that is affected. The pain may vary between dull and severe aches
  • Discoloration of this area

Read on to learn about what causes a bruised toenail, under toenail, bed, NHS, no pain, walking, running, falling off, what to do when your toenail is bruised, and the treatment options that are recommended.

Bruised Toenail Picture
Bruised Toenail Picture

Bruised toenail NHS

Toenail or fingernail abnormalities have the potential to tell you a lot of valuable details pertaining to your current health condition, according to NHS. The abnormalities can be an indication of an injury or a fungal infection. There are cases where they may indicate a serious condition that should be checked out.

It is common for your toenail to become loose and maybe fall off after getting bruised. Over-manicuring and cleaning your toenails using an object that is sharp could also lead to their bruising. The following medical conditions are less common causes of a bruised toenail:

  • Allergic reactions to medication or certain nail cosmetics
  • Fungal nail infection
  • Poor circulation due to excessive smoking
  • Nail psoriasis
  • Problem with your connective tissues
  • A thyroid that is overactive

Bruise under toenail

A bruise sustained under your toenail is not a serious medical condition. It could, however, lead to your nail dying or falling off if proper care is not provided immediately. A bruised toenail could become black or dark blue in appearance.

It may in some instances cause a lot of irritation and pain. Blood accumulation under your toenail is the primary cause of the discoloration, swelling, and pain. Broken or bruised tissues and blood vessels under your nails will cause the different colors to appear on your nail.

A toe that is badly bruised can also cause your toenail to crack or die.

Bruised toenail bed

You may overhear your doctor refer to the condition as subungual hematoma. This occurs when there is bleeding below your toenail. It occurs when your nail is crushed in an accident or injury.

It is a condition that can cause the manifestation of different symptoms like throbbing and pain. The symptoms begin to manifest the moment blood starts collecting in the bruised toenail bed. The injury itself is not worrisome unless you have also injured or damaged surrounding bones and tissues.

Such injuries can occur with a lot of ease. You could:

  • Stub the foot on a surface that is very hard
  • Slam the finger in a house or car door
  • Drop an object that is heavy on the toe
  • Accidentally hit the finger using an object such as a hammer

You should see a medic if you get discoloration under your toenail yet you have not been involved in any accident.

What are the causes of bruised toenail?

A toenail that has become bruised is an indication that the toe has been hurt internally. Different reasons could be behind the injury to your toe. They could include:

1. Bruise on toenail fungus

Fungal nail infections could be the reason why your toenail has recently become bruised. A fungus can cause your nail to turn black or dark blue in color. You could also notice other shades of green and yellow that are commonly associated with fungus infections.

2. Trauma

It is a widespread cause for a toenail that has become bruised. It may be due to engaging in activities like:

  • Running
  • Playing soccer
  • Downhill running
  • Participating in rigorous workout programs

3. Injury

Injuries are another common cause of bruised nails. You can sustain an injury by banging your toenail on a surface that is very hard. It could also happen when you accidentally drop something on your foot. Ballet dancers are some of the people who regularly have to deal with this problem due to the pointed foot stance popular in their dance moves.

4. Wearing shoes that do not fit properly

It may include shoes that are either too small or too big. A shoe that is too small will place a lot of pressure on the toenails. Pointed or narrow shoes could also end up bruising your toenails; especially if your toes are thick.

5. Cancer

Cancer is always a scary thought. It is, however, an infrequent cause for bruising on your toes. A person with nailbed cancer will notice the area surrounding the nails start to turn dark, tanned, or dark spots start to form below the toenails.

Bruised toenail causing pain

A bruised nail causing pain occurs when the internal toe tissues become damaged or injured. Trauma sustained by your skin will cause your blood vessels to rupture, and this will cause blood to start leaking below your nails. Discoloration will then follow.

The discoloration could go away on its own. This is, however, dependent on what caused the bruising to your toe. Common causes are:

  • Foot sprains
  • Trauma from a blunt object that may have hit your nail
  • Internal body infection
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Toenail fracture

Bruise on toenail pain relief

Here’s how to get pain relief from bruised toenail:

1. Cold compress

A cold compress assists in reducing pain and inflammation. You can make a cold compress at home using a towel and some ice cubes. You should wrap your ice cubes using the cloth before you can place them on your bruised nail.

2. Foot elevation

Elevating your foot will aid in reducing the amount of blood that is flowing to the injured region. You can do this at home or in the office. It will help in relieving swelling and pain.

3. Soak affected toe in warm water

Warm water assists in soothing and reducing inflammation and pain. All you need to do is to soak the injured toenail in a warm bowl of water a few times during the day. You may also add little drops of essential oils, e.g., lavender to hasten the recovery process.

4. Medication

Anti-inflammatory medication, as well as painkillers, can come in handy when you have a bruised toenail. They will help in reducing inflammation and getting rid of the pain.

Bruised toenail no pain

A toenail that has become bruised with no pain is not uncommon. Athletes, e.g., runners are prone to getting such kinds of injuries. The bruising is due to the extreme, repetitive pressure applied on their toes when they are running. Increasing your exercise levels could also lead to bruising with no pain.

Bruised toenail from running or walking

Walking and downhill running can also place a lot of pressure on your toes. This is more so when you have been running or walking over extended durations of time. Your toes will be under a lot of pressure as a result of being in contact with your shoe seams.

You can stop this by ensuring that you purchase well-fitting socks and shoes. Feet tend to swell after running or walking for a long time. You should ensure that there is enough room in the shoe to facilitate the expansion of your feet.

Confirm that the shoe toe box is wide enough. It should, however, not be too wide as it may lead to feet banging around the box.

Bruised toenail falling off

A bruised toenail could start falling off after a while. Even though a toenail that has fallen off will eventually grow back, it may take as long as six months for this to happen. An injured toenail will not come off immediately, and the idea of walking around with a loose toenail is not very fun.

You can ensure that this does not happen to you by:

  1. Trimming the toenails—your toenails should be evenly trimmed. Confirm that your nails are cut flat instead of cutting them in a round manner
  2. Wear well-fitting shoes—athletes should ensure they are fitted in a running shop. A shoe that is ill-fitting could cause bruising and injuries to your toes and feet.

What to do when bruised toenails fall off?

Internal bleeding is likely to occur after injuring your toe. Severe bruising cases could lead to your toenail falling off. You can do the following after bruising the toe:

  1. Bandage the wounded toenail for about one hour
  2. Place your foot in an elevated position if the nail is bleeding
  3. Do not attempt to remove the nail that is falling off. Leave it in place. It helps the new nail grow into the correct position
  4. You should visit a physician if the pain becomes too much. The medic will also assist in trimming the nail.

Bruised toenail treatment

The best cure for a bruised toenail is to ensure that the same problem does not occur again in the future. You can also try certain natural home remedies to relieve the pain before visiting a doctor. An immediate visit to your physician will be recommended for a toenail that is falling off or one that has become severely blackened.

The medic will assess the injury before providing a prescription. They could also trim off the nail to stop it from being accidentally torn off your foot. Podiatrists could also assist in relieving the symptoms by draining the blood that could be present on your nail bed.

Treatment for a bruised nail can include:

  • Do not have a hand in any vigorous activities if the bruising is accompanied by little or no pain
  • Try and trim the nail. Take care not to injure yourself in the process. Once trimmed, place the foot in a bucket of warm water to reduce the pain.
  • Over the counter medication can aid in reducing the pain
  • Wear toepads with your shoe to ensure that the bruising will not become aggravated.
  • Always ensure that your shoe is at least one size bigger when running or exercising. This will provide enough wiggle room for your toes.
  • You can apply turmeric paste on the bruised region. It contains anti-inflammation and antibacterial properties that assist in reducing inflammation and fighting infections.
  • Soak the injured toe in warm water two times each day to assist in reducing the tenderness.
  • Apply antibiotic creams and ointments on a frequent basis

Article Resources:

  • American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. (2016, April 4). Subungual Hematoma

  • Elizabeth Williams. (N. D).Bruised toenail: treatment and care

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (N.D). Broken toe

  • (N.D). Bruised toenail


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