How to Treat a Bruised Nail

A subungual hematoma is a fancy name for a bruise under your nail. The fingernail is more than a decoration. It's an important part of the finger's function, providing protection for the fingertip, support for the fingerpad and improving sensation. A bruised nail can be very painful, but it's one of the easiest nail injuries to treat at home.

Evaluate the injury to decide if you can treat it at home or if you should seek medical attention. See the warnings below for situations requiring medical attention.

Remove all jewelry from the hand or foot.

Apply ice to reduce any swelling during the first 24 hours.

Keep the hand or foot elevated above heart level to reduce the throbbing and pain.

Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help manage the pain.

If the pain is extreme, a doctor may recommend draining the blood from beneath the nail to relieve the pressure.


It can take up to two weeks for bruised nails to return to normal.


Seek medical attention if the bruise or hematoma covers more than half the nail, if the nail is lifted away from the nail bed, if there is a laceration to the nail or if the finger or toe appears bent or deformed.