Blood clot under the fingernail or toenail in medical terminology is called subungual hematoma. It is formation of blood clot between the finger nail and the nail bed. Mainly an injury to the nail is responsible for formation of blood clot. It is usually a crush injury. The condition is extremely painful as the clot generates pressure between the nail and nail bed.
The pain is throbbing in nature. The affected fingertip is tender to touch. After few hours you will have red or dark black discoloration under the nail. Sometimes the pain may be due to a fracture of the bone that lies under the nail or an abrasion in nail bed.
A clot may develop under your nail when you accidentally hit a hammer on the nail or if your finger gets crushed between the door and panel while closing the door. If the clot is small with very negligible pain, leave the clot to get absorbed on its own. However, sometimes the pain is distressing due to large amount of pooled blood, in such cases you may have to take proper treatment to alleviate pain.
Diagnosis Of Blood Clots Under Nails
Blood clot under fingernail is obvious on observation. In majority of cases there is recent history of trauma on the fingernail.You may find a red dot underneath the nail. If the clot is large and occupies large space between the nail and nail bed, patient may complain of throbbing and pulsating pain in this area.
However, even though the injury is minor your doctor may recommend X-ray of finger to rule out fracture of the bone below the nail. X-ray may not give any information about the clot. The nail is evaluated for any cuts and abrasions and for intact nail margins.
How To Get Rid Of Blood Clots Under Fingernail?
The best way is to prevent formation of blood clot under the fingernails by remaining careful all the time. Of course it is easy to say, but difficult to always follow. Minor accidents do happen. If blood gets pooled under the nail, follow these simple steps to remove the clot and alleviate pain.
A small clot may not need any treatment as it resolves in few days. You can try following tips.
- Keep your affected finger in flowing tap water for 10 minutes soon after the injury.
- Ice fomentation for 5 minutes will help the clot to stabilize. Bleeding will reduce and thus there will be only a small clot under the nail. Follow it again after 30 minutes.
- Keep the finger elevated. Elevation will reduce the blood flow to the finger which will reduce the size of clot.
- If you are not able to get ice or water, simple pressure on the affected nail will prevent excess oozing of blood and reduce the size of clot.
- Take few frozen peas and corn kernels in a cloth and wrap it around the tip of finger. It does the same function of ice.
- Take few Epsom crystals and dissolve it in water. Soak the affected finger in Epsom salt water. It is effective in reducing the swelling and reduces the size of clot.
- In case the nail is removed due to injury and the nail bed is still intact, soak your finger in a solution prepared by mixing antibacterial lotion and water for few minutes daily. Remove your finger from the solution and dry it with a clean cloth. Apply antibacterial ointment over it and wrap it with sterile gauze and bandage. Follow the procedure daily. It may take 8 to 10 days for the blood clot to resolve.
If the clot covers the large area under the nail you may have to seek medical attention. The health care provider will drain the blood with the help of sterile needle or other medical instruments.