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Have you ever stubbed your toe or caught your fingernail in a door? Such incidents, while common, can be quite painful and disruptive. Nail injuries can vary from a simple bruise under the nail to severe cases where surgery might be necessary to repair the nail bed. This article provides essential information on recognizing nail trauma symptoms, understanding the available treatments, and knowing when to seek professional care from specialists like ours here at Westford Dermatology & Cosmetic Center in Westford.


Understanding the signs and potential treatments for nail trauma is essential for timely care and preventing complications, such as infections or permanent nail damage. Proper treatment not only supports faster healing and minimizes pain but also helps maintain the functionality and aesthetics of your nails. In addition, knowledgeable intervention can prevent the progression of superficial injuries into more severe conditions that might require extensive treatment, making for a quicker and smoother recovery while preserving the natural appearance of your nails.

Common Conditions Treated

Nail injuries can range from minor bruises to complex fractures involving the nail bed and bone. Common conditions include:

  • Subungual hematoma – Blood trapped under the nail, typically from a crush injury.
  • Nail avulsions – When the nail is torn from the nail bed.
  • Fungal nail infections – Secondary infections that can develop from untreated nail damage.
  • Distal phalanx fractures – Bone fractures at the tip of the fingers or toes.

You should watch out for these nail trauma symptoms:

  • Pain and swelling around the nail
  • Discoloration or dark streaks beneath the nail
  • Nail detachment or loosening
  • Pus or discharge indicating infection
  • Abnormal nail shape or texture changes

Identifying these symptoms early can lead to more effective treatments and prevent long-term complications.

Consultation Process

At Westford Dermatology & Cosmetic Center, we begin by carefully examining the injured nail to assess the severity of the trauma. If there’s any concern about a broken bone, we may recommend diagnostic imaging tests (like X-rays) for confirmation. We’ll also discuss your symptoms and medical history in detail. This comprehensive approach allows us to develop a personalized treatment plan that’s most effective for you.

Procedure Details

Treatment options for nail trauma depend on the severity of the injury:

  • Minor injuries – Simple at-home care such as icing, elevation, and over-the-counter pain relief can work.
  • Moderate to severe injuries – Medical procedures may include draining a subungual hematoma, repairing the nail bed, or, in rare cases, surgery to address underlying bone injuries.

Recovery and Post-Procedure Care

Recovery times vary based on the severity of the nail injury.

Minor nail injuries

These typically heal within a few weeks and require basic care, like keeping the area clean and avoiding further trauma.

Severe injuries involving surgery

Recovery can extend from several weeks to months. It would be best if you went to all follow-up appointments so we can monitor how the nail trauma or injury is healing and manage any complications. You should also keep the injured area elevated, clean, and dry and watch for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or warmth. Proper post-procedure care is important to promote effective healing and prevent future problems.

Contact Us to Learn More

Dealing with nail injuries can be uncomfortable and frustrating. However, with the right care, most people recover completely without long-term issues. If you suspect you have a nail injury, do not hesitate to reach out to our skilled team led by Dr. Steven Franks. Contact Westford Dermatology & Cosmetic Center in Westford to schedule a consultation.

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