Subungual Hematoma: Funky Nail or Serious Problem
By: Emma Otieno, DPM, MPH-11/30/20

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Funky Nail or Serious Problem?

  • Underneath the nail
Common Symptoms:
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Throbbing
  • Pain
  • Nail appears blue, black, or purple
Common Mechanism of Injury:
  • Microtrauma/Trauma
  • Stub toe
  • Getting stepped on
  • Kicked something
Associated Injuries:
  • Laceration
  • Fracture
  • Damage to nail
  • Infection
Treatment Options:
  • Observation: rest, ice, compress, elevate (RICE)
  • Trephination (poke holes in nail to relieve pressure)
  • Partial Nail Avulsion (remove part of the nail)
  • Total Nail Avulsion (remove all of the nail)
  • Hand Injury: Plastic Surgeon
  • Foot Injury: Podiatrist

Patel, Lina. 2014. “Management of Simple Nail Bed Lacerations and Subungual Hematomas in the Emergency Department.” Pediatric Emergency Care 30 (10): 742–45; quiz 746–48.


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