Subungual Hematoma: How to treat a bruised toenail at home

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Queries about how to treat a bruised toenail? Have you heard about Subungual hematoma, It is the medical term for bleeding and bruising under the nail (bruised toenail). This can be due to the result of some injury to the blood. Learn to treat your bruised toenail correctly with this article.

  • Bruising under the nail and bleeding is also known as subungual hematoma. 
  • You may have a bruised toe due to a sports accident, jogging, or a blunt-force trauma to your toe, there are ways you can help the restorative process. 
  • If you have bruised toenail because of heavy objects or hammer your doctor may urgently recommend an X-RAY in which he could see if any factures happens.
  • Use warm compressors, ice packs, turmeric paste, etc to treat bruised toenail. See your doctor if your nail is not getter better in 2 to 3 weeks and become worsen day by day
  • Use natural remedies and techniques to treat bruised toenails at home. Let’s see what are those remedies for bruised toenail.

What is Subungual Hematoma or bruised toenail?

A subungual hematoma is a collection of blood under the toenail. It can be very painful depends upon the injury size, although it is not a dangerous medical condition. It is due to the injury of blood vessels under the nail.

Subungual Hematoma article by daily medicos
Image by Wikipedia Creative Commons on Subungual Hematoma

Causes of bruised toenail

Some common causes of bruised nails are getting hurt by a very heavy object or an injury. Before we jump right to the answer of “How to treat a bruised toenail”, let’s find out why you got into this trouble! The injury occurred in many ways;

  • Dropping a heavy object on the toe
  • Hitting your finger with hammer
  • Closing of finger between door
  • Running

Which one was the reason for your bruised toenail, do let us know in the comments section!

Symptoms of bruised toenail

  • Throbbing pain in the nail area
  • Discoloration of nail. 
  • Your nail become reddish-purple, then dark brown and finally black
  • After sometime pain typically goes away from bruised nail but bruised nail will take longer to recover
  • The bruised nail will grow out, fall or removed with the healthy nail. 

When to see a doctor?

It is good to seek a piece of medical advice from a doctor if you have following situations;

  • If you get any discharge from bruised nail
  • If the nail becomes loose
  • If bruised toenail trauma leads to severe pain, swelling, etc on the toe 
  • If any heavy object fall on the toe so it is good to visit a doctor in order to checkout of any facture o toe or treat the deep wound under the bruised toenail
  • If you have any condition that affects the healing process like diabetes, neuropathy, etc
  • It can be turn to skin cancer

Diagnosis of bruised toenail?

If you have bruised toenails because of heavy objects or a hammer your doctor may urgently recommend an X-RAY in which he could see if any fractures happen.

May I developed any structural changes of the toenail in the future?

It is not necessary to develop any changes but some people developed structural changes after bruised toenail like;

  • Nail thickening
  • Permanent nail loss
  • Nail dystrophy means permanent nail changes like a decrease in size
  • Nail avulsion means entire nails fall off and the nail will grow after some months.

Above mentioned conditions are just not because of bruised toenails it may develop due to some viral or bacterial infections as well.

Remedies for bruised toenail

Now, finally lets move to the most common query on the bruised toenails, How to treat a bruised toenail?

Remedy 01: How to treat a bruised toenail With ICE

  • Apply ice to the bruised toenail soon


  • Take ice pack or clean towel with cold water
  • Put it on bruise area for 10 mins
  • Take it off and rest for 15 to20 mins
  • Again apply the ice pack for 10 mins

It will reduce the swelling and constrict the broken blood vessels so it may not spread more. most bruises will heal on their own in 2 to 3 weeks.

Remedy 02: How to treat a bruised toenail With Elevation of Toe

  • Elevate your toe 


  • Sit or lie on couch or bed
  • Take cushions or pillows
  • Put your leg on it
  • Elevate your bruised toe above heart level
Elevate your toe and relax

This will reduce pressure on the bruised area

Remedy 03: Treat a bruised toenail Bandage

  • Tape  the injured toe

 Covering the toe is a really good choice to go for. You should change the bandages with a new adhesive bandage when the bandage gets dirty. Keep an eye on it for signs of infection such as increased heat, redness, and an increase in pain.


  • Take a small cotton ball and tape (masking or medical)
  •  Put a cotton ball in the center of the toes
  • Take masking tape or medical tape and wrap around them to keep your injured toe stable. 
  • Change the cotton and tape each day until the swelling becomes down

The cotton will absorb the dampness between your toes.

Remedy 04: How to treat a bruised toenail With Warm Compressor

  • Apply warm compressors

Warm compresses help open up blood vessels and increase blood flow to promote healing of your bruised toenail. The best example of a  warm compress is a towel soaked in hot water. Make sure to keep feet warm, it will help you to redistribute heat through the entire body.


  • Take a warm water bottle or cloth with warm water
  • Put a warm compressor on bruised toenail for 15 mins
  • Use this remedy three times a day

Remedy 05: How to treat a bruised toenail Natural Ointments

  • Rub a natural ointments for bruised toenail healing

To boost up your recovery, you can take help from natural ointments. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on this activity. Just 5 minutes of rubbing 2 to 4 times a day will show you the effect within the first 3 days. Natural substances work to reduce inflammation and swelling, promote circulation, and heal faster from the bruised toenails.


  • Take natural products like arnica ointment, crushed parsley leaves, mustard oil, turmeric paste, or vitamin K cream
  • Apply it on bruise area 
  • Use this for 2 to 4 times a day

Remedy 06: How to treat a bruised toenail With Saline Solution

  • Soak bruised toenail or foot in saline solution

Start by filling up a tub or any bowl, in which you can fit in your feet, with warm freshwater. Then add 1 Tbsp of Epsom salt or common salt for every quart of water. Next, put your feet in the tub and relax for 20 minutes twice a day. Epsom salt is preferred to use as it can draw out the infection and also soften your feet’ skin while it helps to boost your recovery.


  • Take 1 spoon salt and warm water
  • Mix salt in warm water
  • Soak your foot in it 
  • Use this for 3 times a day for 10 min

It helps to prevent infection under your nails and clean your bruised toenail

Other options for treating bruised toenail

Some other options for your question “How to treat a bruised toenail” are listed below:

  • Take vitamin C and K
  • Avoid hot showers for 2 to 3 days 
  • Take pain reliever
  • Limit your physical activities 
  • Don’t apply pressure on your toe

See your doctor if your nail is not getting better and become worsen day by day!

When to take an emergency treatment?

  • the pain is intolerable
  • the injury occurred to a baby or child
  • the bleeding is stubborn
  • there is a cut or incision
  • the base of the nail is damaged

What is a nail bed evaluation?

It depends on the type of trauma and the level of the injury and how much blood forms below the nail, the doctor may decide to remove the nail to check the nail bed for openings while it use to be common to have the nail bed for lacerations of injuries, this is no eternal routine tradition if the nail edges or margins are intact.

Prevention against bruised toenail

  • Watch your children hands while open and closing of the door
  • Pay  complete attention to what you are performing
  • Don’t lift large objects 
  • Wear good quality shoes


The bruised toenail is due to some injury by a heavy object or running. You may develop unreliable pain and as time passes your nail becomes purple, brown, and black. If you don’t get any relief from the bruised toenail by the above-mentioned remedies, do consult your doctor. Common sense and presence of mind can prevent you from getting harmed and becoming a bruised toenail. 

Do let us know about your recommendations on “How to treat a bruised toenail”, and how do you prefer to deal with it.