Nail Bed Injuries Are Painful But Treatable


Like your fingernails, your toenails are each made up of three parts: the nail plate, the nail matrix, and the nail bed. The nail plate is the hard part of the nail, made of a translucentprotein called keratin. The nail matrix produces new nail cells. It is the part of your body that the hard nail is there to protect. The nail bed is the skin underneath the nail. This soft tissue, usually protected so well by the nail, is tender and vulnerable to painful injury. Common causes of damage to the nail beds of the toes include sports, injury during a fall, and crush injuries from dropping something on the foot.

The signs of a nail bed injury vary depending on the severity of the tissue trauma. Some of these injuries may cause tearing of the adjacent skin or a fracture of the bone underneath. Other symptoms can include:

  • pain

  • swelling

  • redness

  • hematoma, a collection of blood under the nail

  • partial or complete avulsion (tearing) of the nail from the nail bed

If you think that you have injured the nail bed of one of your toes, do not do anything on your own especially cutting at or removing a partially-torn nail. Instead, schedule a visit to the foot doctor right away. Your board-certified podiatrist is a medical professional and the best-qualified professional to diagnose and treat your problem. Treatment options may include:

  • over-the-counter and prescription medications for pain and swelling

  • antibiotics if infection is a risk

  • tetanus shot

  • drilling a small hole in the nail to drain a hematoma

  • surgery, but only in the rarest and most severe cases

Are you suffering from a nail bed injury, or do you have any other concerns about the health and well-being of your feet, ankles, or lower legs? Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM can help. Call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our comfortable Pikesville office today.