Fingers General

How to Treat a Nail Bed Injury

A nail bed injury can have multiple causes. Anything that can crush, cut, tear or pinch the fingertip can also injure the nail bed. Consequently, nail bed injuries are often accompanied by other injuries to the finger or hand.

Crushing the fingertip may simply cause a lot of blood to pool under the nail, which is very painful. More severe injuries can cause the nail to break into pieces, or they may cause the nail and/or fingertip to be severed.

Our team will start by taking the patient’s medical history, during which they will ask about the cause of the injury. They will use imaging technology like an X-ray to both check the severity of the nail bed injury and look for any associated injuries like a broken bone. We will choose a treatment based on what we find. Regardless of the techniques used, the treatment’s goals will always be to restore the nail and surrounding area to its normal appearance and function.

If the patient has a hematoma or accumulation of blood under the nail, we can drill a small hole in the nail to release the blood and, thus, relieve the pressure and pain. Hematomas are among the more common nail bed injuries. In many cases, the patient ends up losing the nail, but a new one does grow in. The new nail will look perfectly normal unless the injury involved the germinal matrix or crescent. The nail grows from the germinal matrix, so an injury to it often results in a malformed nail. The nail, however, keeps growing throughout a person’s life. Thus, once the germinal matrix heals, it starts producing a normal nail that will eventually replace the misshapen nail over the following months.

In reconstruction of the nail bed, the surgeon may replace it with grafts taken from other digits. In many such cases, there will also be other injuries like fractures, and the surgeon will have to treat those first. It all depends on the unique situation.

Are you dealing with a nail bed injury? Make an appointment at Arora Hand Surgery right away. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Howell, Warren, Macomb, or West Bloomfield!