Splinter hemorrhage is a condition which occurs under the nail, both finger nail as well as toe nail. The characteristic feature of splinter hemorrhage is appearance of longitudinal red or brown lines under the nail. The nail bed has rich supply of blood and it is provided by tiny blood vessels called capillaries. When these capillaries get damaged blood oozes out and form clot.
A normal nail has longitudinal groves and ridges. The blood gets entrapped between the grooves of nail which is above the nail bed. Thus splinter hemorrhages are observed in straight line and it appears similar to a splinter under the nail, hence the name splinter hemorrhage.The most common cause of splinter hemorrhage is minor trauma.
Splinter hemorrhage is often asymptomatic, but sometimes there may be associated pain if the clot is big. In some cases pain may be due to underlying diseases which cause splinter hemorrhage such as Reynaud’s disease. Splinter hemorrhage generally resolves in few days without any treatment. However, in few cases the underlying cause needs more attention.
What Causes Splinter Hemorrhage In Nails?
The most common cause of splinter hemorrhage is injury to nail bed. Many times the injury is mild and it is unnoticed until you see splinter hemorrhage beneath the nail.Aside from traumatic injury to nail, it can be a sign of many other conditions some of which are chronic and serious. They are as follows:
- Onychomycosis is a type of fungal infection which affects nail. A person suffering from fungal infection of nail usually has splinter hemorrhage as one of its symptoms.
- Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease. It can affect any skin area including nail bed. The skin under the nail becomes thin and as a result the unprotected capillaries remain more vulnerable to get punctured with minor trauma to nail.
- Patient who is taking certain prescribed medicines such as aspirin, NSAID’s and blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding under the nail. Splinter hemorrhage develops quickly in such patients with minor trauma to the nail bed.
- If a person has recurrent episodes of splinter hemorrhage, doctors may look for systemic diseases such as lupus and Reynaud’s disease.
- Heart diseases and vascular disease such as bacterial endocarditis, and vasculitis can also cause splinter hemorrhage under the nail.
- Splinter hemorrhage is also common among people who suffer from diabetes and thyroid disease. Especially among known diabetics whose blood sugar remains uncontrolled.
How To Get Rid Of Nail Splinter Hemorrhage Naturally ?
Splinter hemorrhage resulting from traumatic injury to nail bed usually resolves without any treatment in few days. It is body’s own mechanism which absorbs the clotted blood under the nail. However, splinter hemorrhage which occurs recurrently needs thorough evaluation to rule out many chronic and serious causes.
- If the problem originates due to fungal infection of nail, tea tree oil is a time tested natural remedy to treat both fungal infection and simultaneously associated splinter hemorrhage. Apply tea tree oil on and around the nail. Apply it regularly for many days as fungal nail infections are stubborn to go easily.
- If splinter hemorrhage is caused due to Reynaud’s disease, treatment of the same will help to cure splinter hemorrhage.
- There is a homeopathic drug called Arnica which has valuable action of absorbing clotted blood. Consult a homeopath before taking this medicine.
- If you have splinter hemorrhage avoid eating certain foods that are known to make blood thin such as garlic and onion. They are natural blood thinners and interfere in clotting mechanism of blood thereby increasing the healing period.
If you have dark streaks under the nail, avoid cutting the nail as while doing so you are likely to injure the already fragile capillaries which are bleeding, thus aggravating the condition.