A bruised toenail happens when a toenail is hurt internally.
A bruise under the toenail is also known as “subungual hematoma” which means blood under the toenail.
It is not a serious health concern; however, the nail can fall off or become dead if not well cared soon.
A bruised nail might become dark blue or black in color. It can also cause a lot of pain and irritation. The accumulation clotted blood under the toenail is what causes pain, swelling and discoloration.
Types Of Toenail Problems Associated With Toenail Injury Or Bruise
A bruised toenail’s symptoms and appearance can vary according to the type of injury that has occurred to the nail. Here are some of the prominent symptoms or types of bruises that usually happen to the toenails:
- Black-and-Blue Toenails: Black-and-blue toenails are the result of trauma or injury to the skin tissues in the nail bed or clotted blood under the toenail. The blood and fluid accumulated underneath the toenail after the bruise is somewhat translucent and appear in black or blue color. Athletes, especially, the runners are more prone to get black or blue toenails because of the friction on nails caused by tight spikes or heavy pressure frequently exerted on toes while running.
- Yellow Toenails: Most common reasons for yellow toenails are fungal infections, nail polish or internal diseases affecting the person. However, some people do get yellow toenails as a result of bruised toes that make the nail dead or yellowish.
- Bruise Under Toenail And Bruised Toe: Bruised or broken blood vessels and tissues under the toes cause black, blue, and deep purple colors under the nail. Similarly, a badly bruised toe can make the toenail to become dead or cracked.
- Thickened Toenail: Thickened nails are mostly caused by a nail fungal infection, ill-fitting footwear or psoriasis. Trauma or injury to the toenail can also result in thickening of the nail.
- Ingrown Toenails: Nail growing into its surrounding skin is called an ingrown nail. It is usually a problem that happens with the edges of the big toenails. Ingrown nails can also occur because of injuries or bruises which may cause deformity or overgrowth of flesh around the toes.
- Split Toenails: Split toenail, also known as onychoschizia, is mostly caused by vitamin deficiency. Toenail splitting also can happen because of trauma or bruise on toes or toenails.
- Cracked Toenails: Cracked toenail is a common nail issue faced by many people. Toenails get cracked because of excessive dryness or dampness of the nail met with heavy pressure on them. Trauma and severe bruise can also cause cracks on toenails.
What Causes Toenail Bruises?
A toenail can get bruised for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes are the following:
- Rigorous Exercises: A sudden increase in rigorous exercises exerts heavy pressure on toes and nails which might make them bleed internally.
- Ill-Fitting Footwear: Wearing small or ill-fitting footwear increases pressure and friction on toenails which eventually cause bruises.
- Games And Sports: Games like soccer and sports events requiring fast running might cause excessive pressure and trauma on toenails leading to bruising.
- Untrimmed Nails: Long and untrimmed nails are prone to hurts and trauma that can cause bruise under toenails.
- Downhill Running: Walking or running down the hill make the toenails to be in constant pressure and friction against the seams of the shoes.
- Ballet Dance: Artists who constantly perform ballet dance often get bruised toenail as they have to frequently stand on pointed feet or toes.
- Trauma And Injuries: Trauma from blunt or hard objects hitting the toenail.
- Medications: Prolonged medication like the anticoagulant medicines can cause bruised toenail.
- Accidents: Any kind of accidents such as hitting or falling of heavy objects on the toes can result in bruised toenails.
Bruised Toenail Treatment
There is nothing to worry about minor bruises or injuries that happen to toenail as they will heal on their own with little or no treatment.
However, if you have a painful and severe bruise on toes or toenail, you have to get them healed fast with best possible treatments.
Home remedies and preventive steps are best for dealing with trauma and injuries on toes and nails.
Here are a few tips on how to get rid of bruised toenails with home remedies and preventive care:
- Relieve the pain and swelling on toes with cold compress treatment.
- Trim your toenail evenly and flat across the toes (cut them flat and not round).
- Take OTC anti-inflammatory medicines like acetaminophen to reduce swelling and pain; aspirin is not recommended.
- Soak the bruised toenails in warm water treated with sea salt for 5 minutes; repeat it 3 times a day.
- In case bleeding from the toenail, keep the affected toenail (foot) elevated to reduce the blood flow to the affected area.
- Apply topical antibacterial cream or lotion on affected toe and keep it bandaged in gauze sponge.
- Use a cushioning toe pad inside the shoes to avoid friction and pressure on affected toes.
- Do not wear shoes if you have severe bruise; use comfortable sandals instead. Wear shoes or sandals that have enough room for the comfortable resting of toes.
- Do not walk around or run with bruised toes till they are sufficiently healed. If you have a severe bruise with pain and swelling, rest and relax completely.
Natural Remedies For Bruised Toenails
Natural remedies are fantastic option to heal bruise and injuries to the toenails. It is best for managing minor bruises.
Attempt with natural remedies for injured toenail is done only in case the bruise occupies less than a quarter of the nail area and the toe is not bent or deformed. In case of severe and inflamed bruises affecting more than a quarter of the nails need to be treated with regular medicines under the guidance of a doctor.
However, you can also use the natural remedies as an addition to the regular treatments.
Let us now look at some of the popular natural remedies worth using:
- Essential Oils: Use EOs like tea tree oil or peppermint oil for topical application to contain inflammation and microbial infection.
- Salt Water: Dilute two tablespoons of sea salt in a cup of warm water and keep the bruised nails soaked in this water for 5 minutes. Repeat the treatment thrice a day for the fast healing of the bruise.
- Fuller’s Earth: Cover the affected toenail with Fuller’s earth kneaded with Rosewater. This helps in removing inflammation and soothes the pain in the bruised toe; also this reduces heat and irritation.
- Mustard Oil: Massage the affected toe with mustard oil. This oil contains medicinal and antimicrobial properties capable of healing bruises and injuries. Another method to reduce pain is to knead some dough flour with mustard oil and cover the entire toe with this mixture.
- Turmeric Paste: Apply fresh turmeric paste on the affected toes. Turmeric contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
- Icing: Take a liter of ice cubes and crush them in a bucket. Keep the bruised toes immersed under the ice for ten minutes. This helps to prevent inflammations, pain, and formation of blue-black nails. Follow it up with the application of antiseptic cream on the affected nail and toe.
- Aloe Vera Gel: Apply Aloe vera gel on the injured toenails to soothe irritation and pain.
- Witch Hazel: Washing the affected toenail in with hazel water helps in faster healing of bruise.
- Lavender Oil: Apply the lavender oil on the bruised toenail and toe. Alternatively, immerse the affected toe in the cold water with few drops of lavender oil diluted in it. Lavender oil will reduce the swelling and cold water will provide relief from pain.
When To Consult A Podiatrist Or Doctor?
A severely bruised toe or toenail needs to be treated by a podiatrist to save the nail and prevent microbial infection on toes. Right treatment under a doctor is required to stop infections that might otherwise cause damage to the toes and foot.
You should compulsorily visit a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms or health conditions exist along with the bruised toenail:
- Continuous pain on toes is not relieved after having pain killers or antibiotics.
- Continuous bleeding from toes, bleeding nose or presence of blood stains in urine and stool.
- Prolonged tingling or burning sensation on the affected toe.
- If you have fever, headache or nausea.
- Redness and an open wound on the toe.
- Blue or black discoloration on the nail-bed.
Bruised Toenail Healing Time
The healing time for a bruised nail depends on the gravity of the bruise and the right treatments you do.
A badly bruised toenail might even fall off. In such a case, it will require more than 6 months for the new nails to grow in place of the lost one.
Do not try to remove the bruised nails forcefully. Let the nail come off on its own, however, do the best treatment and care for the toenail as long it stays on the toe.
If you have got a minor bruise under the toenail, there is nothing much to worry about. The bruised tissues under the nail will gradually recuperate and become normal within a month.
It is important that you give the best possible treatment and protection to the bruised toes. Don’t give chance to the toenails to tear it off accidently.
How To Prevent Bruises Under Toenails?
Majority cases of bruised toenails occur because of poor care and protection given to the toenails.
You can easily prevent the occurrence of bruise under toenail with basic care and protection for toenails except for the accidental bruises which are not entirely under our control.
Here are a few important tips for protecting your toenails from trauma and bruises:
- Always wear correct sized shoes which give comfortable room space for the toenails.
- When you are involved in sporting activities or jogging use slightly bigger shoes.
- Trim your nails once a week; trim the nails neatly flat across the front edge of the toes.
- Use soft and comfortable socks that correctly fit your foot without hurting your toenails.
- Use shoe pads or socks with pads to give extra cushion and protection to the toes.
- Stop wearing shoes as soon as you get a bruise under the toenail till it is fully healed.
- Fit your boots and shoes with insoles to prevent recurrent bruising of big toes.
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