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Nail Bed Trauma and Recovery

Todays blog is a guest piece from Beauty Courses Online, big thank you to them for the interesting info on nail care at home!

Nails support our fingers in multiple ways – by providing protection and serving as shields against viruses and physical harm, strengthening our fingertips, and offering another input sensation-wise. They are positioned in fairly exposed locations, so nail injuries aren’t too uncommon.

However, given the fact that they’re comprised of keratin, healthy nails are decently resistant to physical damage. Repeated severe injuries caused by crushing, cutting, tearing, and ripping are the most common causes of nail bed trauma.

Today we will discuss notable signs of nail bed injuries, advise you in terms of recovery, and talk about situations where the help of a professional is ideal, so let’s begin.

Symptoms of Nail Bed Injuries

The nail bed lies underneath the nail plate, which shields it from most types of physical harm. The only way a physical object can bypass the plate and injure the bed is for it to be smaller than a couple of millimeters.

A schoolbook example of such an injury would be a piece of splintered wood rupturing the bed. The upper parts of the nail plate exist to prevent any foreign bodies from entering the bloodstream, which means that in most cases you can tell what’s wrong with the bed if you observe the plate.

Light bruises

In case of regular bruises, the peeled keratin will leave white marks, which is not necessarily a cause for alarm. If the plate starts turning dark red, that means that the nail bed has sustained a significant injury.


Essentially, only a portion of any physical impact can be absorbed by the nail plate. If the force is strong enough, it can either agitate and disbalance the flow of blood or rupture any blood vessel as it ricochets against the walls.

Monitor the changes of hematoma’s color in mornings and evenings. It should gradually meld with the pinkish, natural color of a nail plate. If at any point the plate starts blackening, you should immediately visit your doctor.


Laceration/punctures refer to clean cuts through the plate, which are significantly more dangerous than bruises. Blood would normally swell around the point of impact, although sharp pain is more than enough of an indicator that the bed has suffered a heavy injury.

Plate Amputation

If either a piece or the entire plate was torn from the bed, it will leave the bed completely exposed to viruses and various bacteria. Although the bed may be unscathed by whichever force had amputated the nail, even the lightest stimuli can cause serious harm to the entire system.

Nail Bed Recovery

The exact type of recovery mainly depends on the type of injury. There are a few general rules of nursing that apply regardless of the severity of damage done to either the plate, the bed, or both, all of which will be discussed in the following section.

Light Injuries

Light injuries to the nail bed can be mended by simply avoiding exposing your nails to further damage. Namely, hematoma is nothing more than a succession of physical traumas, so in order to avoid that on toenails, wear open-ended footwear (such as flip-flops or sandals), and in case of bleeding wounds, avoid wearing socks.

Slightly more serious, but still light nail injuries can be dressed to provide additional protection to complement that of the nail's plate, although this is rarely necessary.

The main premise of a light nail/nail bed injury is that the finger in question is not hurting when touched. Throbbing or pulsating wounds are a clear indicator that a major injury has occurred, which calls for a different type of approach.

Bleeding Injuries

Regardless of whether the nail was smashed, cut or ruptured, if you see any blood surrounding the wound, you need to prevent it from progressing further. Nail beds house a multitude of tiny blood vessels, and in most cases, blood will not ooze from the wound unless some of them were damaged.

To stop the bleeding, you should use a sterile piece of clean cloth and apply gentle pressure around the wound.


Hematomas build up over time, which means that exercising caution is the best way to prevent them. Nail plates that are slowly turning dark-red or dark-blue should be your clear indicators of the earliest stages.

Once developed, hematomas can be relatively easily treated with ice packs and bandages. What makes this issue problematic is the fact that the process can last up to a month.

Re-dressing the wound, applying ice even when the nail isn’t hurting while preventing future damage is a three-step process that needs to be executed without fail daily. The easiest way to perform these tasks is to keep the entire arm or foot elevated or in a properly affixed cast.

Amputated Nails

Amputated nails leave the bed completely exposed, which will immediately start pulsating and hurting. You should immediately clean the severed parts with a sterile solution and cover it with a gauze wrap. Make sure to pick up the pieces so that they can be reattached to the bed later on.

Re-dressing the wound is currently all you can do. Drive to your local hospital and seek first aid as soon as possible. Your doctors will help you schedule the reconstruction surgery.

We hope that this guide was of use to you and that you’ve learned something new today on nail bed trauma and recovery. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!

photo of Norma Spencer, Writer for Beauty Courses Online
Norma Spencer, Writer for Beauty Courses Online

Norma is a gardener, bookkeeper, writer, and mother of three. She's also a writer with a Ph.D. in Business Administration (Management). At the moment of writing this bio, Norma is in Germany, planning to spend at least a few more years in Europe in the coming years.

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