subungle hematoma-bruised nail

Originally posted September 4, 2020|First Aid

Ugh!! Nothing hurts more than a subungle hematoma! OK, I just like saying that word 🙂 But seriously, what is a subungle hematoma?! It is bruising or bleeding under the nail usually caused by trauma (like dropping something on your foot). I went backpacking over the summer and I guess my boots did not like my feet (even though they were well broken in (my boots, not my feet)), because I ended up with not one, but two subungle hematoma! Luck me, right?! It got pretty painful and I could see the bruising under the nail of both toes. I was able to continue hiking and did not have to deal with it until a couple of days later when I realized that it hurt even to wear crocs. 

I am going to describe how to relieve it in case the video makes you squeamish. You will need a pin (a safety pin will also work), some way to sterilize the pin (alcohol or flame),  gauze or paper towel, and a strong will. You will want to first sterilize the needle. Then you will (brace yourself) put the needle into your toenail over the hematoma. They say it doesn’t hurt. This should provide a way to release the pressure, easing the pain. I say should because if you watch the video, you will see that I am a big chicken and cannot bring myself to do it. My hematoma was actually bulging out from under the nail, so I was able to access it under the nail. This is gross, but once I inserted the needle, I was able to apply gentle pressure to get the blood and fluid out from under the nail. I actually had to insert the needle under the nail a couple of days later because the fluid began to build up again (it had become painful). I only had to do this to one of the nails, because the other nail did not hurt as much. Unfortunately, I ended up losing both nails about a month later. It is not as bad as it seems. It did not hurt when I removed them, because they were completely dead. The new nail is already growing in nice and healthy! 

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