Not healing smashed toe nail

Patient

Q: I smashed a toe well over a month ago. Initially it turned black and blue, so I expected it to fall off. It is still attached and black and blue and doesn't seem to be growing out much.

Is this normal? Is there anything I should do?

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. What you have experienced is referred to as a subungual hematoma. This occurs when a nail sustains trauma that results in bleeding beneath it. Blood collects beneath the nail forming a darkened black/brown area that can be unsightly and painful. This can be treated by releasing the pressure of the hematoma by piercing a whole through the nail or by removing the entire nail in one piece. Both procedures are performed by a doctor and if done correctly, the nail will heal and regrow without complication. We recommend that you follow up with your doctor to determine which of these treatment options will be best for your injury.

Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com with your medical query.

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