How To Deal With Bruised Toenails
Bruised toenails are something most of us have experienced at one time or another, especially those who engage in long distance running or dancing, particularly the ballet. A bruised toenail may be barely noticeable in some cases, quite noticeable in others. Most often very little pain is involved, but in some instances the pain can be rather severe and may last for several days.
Subungal hematoma is the medical term given to bruised toenails, which are characterized by an accumulation of blood under the nail, causing the toenail to appear blue, or even black in some instances. Dancing and running are frequent causes of bruised toenails, and people involved in those activities may suffer from them periodically. For most of us, a bruised toenail .happens when we stub our toe against something, or drop something heavy on our foot. Bruised toenails can also be a result of allowing the nails to grow too long, or wearing shoes that are too tight or have too small of a toe box.
Amount Of Pain Can Vary - There is no treatment that is going to prevent a toenail from becoming discolored, although there are things that can be done if the discoloring is accompanied by pain. Of course it can hurt to stub one's toe, and it can hurt if you drop a bowling ball on your foot, but unless a bone is broken, the pain will normally subside in a short time. There are times however, that blood will accumulate under the toenail, causing pressure on the nail, and consequently causing pain. When this happens, a quick visit to a doctor or podiatrist may be in order, as the pain usually can be relieved instantly if a small hole is drilled through the nail, allowing the fluid to escape and relieve the pressure. If the pain isn't too severe however, one can usually wait it out for a few days and it will gradually go away.
Shame Or Pride - With women, who often wear shoes with open toes, a bruised toenail is sometimes primarily a cosmetic issue. While not necessarily horrible looking, the black or blue toe can be a distraction, even if it doesn't hurt. To make matters worse, if the toenail eventually drops off, the new toenail can be quite ugly looking at first, not really resembling a normal toenail for the first few months of its growth. Men don't have this problem quite as often, in fact may tend to view a bruised toenail as a badge of honor, a so-called “athletic injury”.
Marathons And Dancing - Sometimes, the first experience a person may have with bruised toenails is at the finish of their first ever marathon. It's not all that uncommon to for people, who have participated in a marathon, to relate how one or more toes have turned black, and one or more toenails have eventually come off. It's not just the first marathon when this happens, but can become an almost chronic disorder for those who regularly participate in marathons. A small percentage of die-hard marathon runners even go to the extreme of having their toenails surgically removed. As strange as this may sound, we really don't use our toenails for anything much, and wouldn't miss them as much as we would miss fingernails.
Ballet dancers also have the problem, often when dancing pointe, where significant pressure is being placed on the toes. When bruised toenails occur, some dancers will numb the toes with topical medications, although while relieving the pain, the numbing can in some cases affect one's performance, especially if the floor cannot be "felt". Most often a bruised nail is treated with padding to keep excess pressure off the toes while dancing.
Don't Pull It Off - If a bruised toenail is severe enough such that it appears the toenail is going to fall off eventually, it's best to leave it alone, and let it fall off naturally. One can wiggle it gently from time to time to help the process along, but trying to pull it off can not only be painful but result in a wound, leading to possible infection. If removing the nail is desirable, it's best to have it done by a doctor, rather than attempting to do it yourself.