Nail Injury:

  • The fingertip or toe has been partially or completely amputated.
  • Major bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of pressure.
When to See a Health Care Provider:

Go to an emergency room or call a health care provider quickly if:

  • The finger or toe is deformed, which may indicate fracture or dislocation.
  • The wound looks deep or long enough to need stitches.
  • Discoloration or a bruise under the nail covers more than a quarter of the nail or there is continuing, intense pain.
  • The nail is completely torn off or partially cut off from a crush injury or cut.
Stop Bleeding:
  • Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth.
Clean and Protect the Wound:
  • If the nail is torn, use sterile scissors to cut off rough edges to prevent further injury.
  • Clean the wound and torn nail area with soap and warm water.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment and bandage.
Treat Symptoms:
  • For swelling, ice the area.
  • For pain, give painkillers
Follow Up:
  • Continue to use ice and pain medication as needed. Pain and swelling should clear up within a week.
    It can take several months for a nail that has separated from the nail bed to grow back.
  • Change the bandage daily. If signs of infection develop — such as pus, redness, or heat around the nail or a red streak extending from the wound — call a health care provider promptly.
  • If the person sees a health care provider, the healthcare provider will determine if there is a fracture or if tissue under the nail needs repair and may remove the nail to make the repair. The healthcare provider may make a hole in the nail to drain blood and give a tetanus shot if needed.