How to Treat Bruised Toenails

One of the most common toenail injuries is a bruise beneath the nail. This is called a subungal hematoma. The bruise lifts the nail from the underlying nail bed. In some cases this can become very painful whilst in others the toenail eventually falls off. There are a few treatment options for bruised toenails.

Drain the fluid that forms underneath the nail. This will release the fluid and therefore swelling and pain. This can be done at home if you have a sterile needle, but it is best to visit your doctor or podiatrist. The pain relief is almost instant. You should bath your toe in salt water and keep a sterile dressing on the toe until the nail bed has healed.

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Prevent the nail from catching on socks by keeping it covered with a band-aid.

Leave the nail alone if it has come loose. Do not try to tear the nail off. Just cut the nail as you do with the rest of the toenails. If it becomes very loose or uncomfortable visit you podiatrist to have him remove the loose section.

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Be patient if the nail has been bruised for a while and is not causing you any discomfort. It can take 6-12 months until the nail grows clear.

Monitor the toe for any pain, redness or swelling. If this does occur visit your podiatrist.

Make sure that your shoes are not too short or narrow and have a lace or strap. This will prevent pressure on the toenails.

Seek the help of your podiatrist if the condition recurs. Sometimes bruising can occur due to a structural problem with your foot such as a claw toe or a functional problem with your foot such as over pronation (rolling in).


If you have diabetes, poor circulation, neuropathy, a poor immune system, or cannot see or reach your feet do not attempt to treat the condition yourself. Always seek the advice of a podiatrist if you notice any changes in your feet.