Causes of Blood Under Toenail or Discoloration of Nail & Its Treatment

Blood under Toenail

  • The formation of blood under the toenails is called subungal hematoma. This creates a discoloration in the nail which can either be dark, maroon or red after the toe has been injured or experienced a great pressure.
  • The usual associated symptom of this is extreme pain in the affected area.
    • The cause of such pain is the intense pressure between the nail bed and the nail itself.
      This is where the blood is collected causing the pain.
    • The associated pain can also be due to the presence of other injuries like bruises in the toes or fracture to the nearby bone.

Blood under Toenail Causes

  • When a person walks or runs, the feet slide down into the shoes. This causes the toes to bang against the front or sides of the shoes. Also, when the feet become swollen, shoes or socks compress them.
  • The impact and pressure causes damage to the nail beds in the toes. This can also make blisters underneath the toenails.
  • When this occurs, some fluid or blood makes the nail separate from its nail bed. As a result, a dark discoloration is seen in the nail caused by the blood.
  • In short, when the toes experience too much pressure or get injured, blood leaks through the nail bed causing a blood collection underneath the nail.

Blood under Toenail Treatment

  • Immediate care to a hematoma or blood collection under the toenail can bring relief to pain and potentially save the toenail itself. This can be safely done by draining the nail bed with a paperclip
  • Steps to follow:
    • Disinfect the affected area with antibacterial soap.
    • Wash hands thoroughly and use sterile gloves.
    • First, heat the end part of the paperclip until it appears bright red. The heated metal allows the clip to bore the nail and enter the nail bed.
    • Put the heated part of the paper clip into the end part of the nail until it reaches the nail bed. Be very careful in applying pressure as the nail bed is soft and sensitive and can be damaged once too much pressure is applied.
    • When a hole is made in the toenail, press the base of the toenail to push the accumulated blood out of the hole created. As soon as the excess blood is taken out, pain relief can be felt by immediately.
    • Since there is a hole in the nail, the injured area is open to infection. Thus, the person must take care to prevent bacteria buildup in the area. Immerse the affected foot or toenail in an iodine solution for 15 minutes. After this, cover this part with a disinfected dressing for about 2 days.
    • Always check for any signs of infection.

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