Bruised Toenail: Learn About Its Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Causes | Treatment | Prevention | Home Remedies | Healing time

You probably suffered from bruised toenail after a tough race or strenuous activity with your friends, particularly on trails. It is true that some runners already accept the fact they will have bruised toenails.

Nonetheless, for a normal person like you, a bruised big toenail will not be desirable. Take note that it will not only be unlikely in appearance but cause difficult when you run again. Besides the pain, an infection may also follow, especially if your injured toenail gets exposed to a moist environment.

Even if you had bruised toenail from running, hiking, walking, soccer or other reason, you should learn how to identify its causes, prevent its development, and treat the ailment.

To avoid a bruised toenail falling off due to its aggravated condition, start learning more about the condition for a quick remedy identification.

Are Bruised Toenails Common?

Are Bruised Toenails Common

Indeed, bruised toenails are common. Athletes or not, you can be affected by the problem as long as you wear sports shoes that do not provide ample space for your toenails. As a result, added force is exerted on your toenails.

The skin under your toenail then gets injured. Consequently, the nail plate will accumulate deposits of fluid and blood.

Athletes who are often diagnosed with bruised toenail are soccer players, and runners for their toes tend to receive the highest pressure. Nonetheless, typical people who have jammed their foot on a door may also experience the same fate.

Bruised Toenail Causes

Subungual hematoma or bleeding under toenail may be due to a variety of causes. Nonetheless, it is just normal for you to suffer from bruised toenail if it gets crushed due to an accident.

Besides the collection of blood and fluid beneath your nail, acute pain cannot be denied. Before you worry a lot, you should know that as long as there is no broken bone or nail bed damage, the injury can be solved easily.

To provide you ideas about the causes of bruised toenails, here are a few:

Long Runs

Blood under toenail may develop if you often have a long run. The result of nail injury after the activity is not often serious although accompanied by pain. Also, the black toenail may remain for as long as months.

Long-run results to bruised toenail due to the excess strain applied on the toenails. Plus, irritation also takes place between the shoe and toenails, particularly if your footwear is too narrow or tight.

However, you must understand that running too long with loose shoe will also bear the same results for your foot tends to have extra movement inside the footwear.


The bruise under toenail may also develop due to trauma. For instance, you slammed a door on your fingers accidentally. Also, there are those encounter accidents due to crushing forces while using machinery.

Furthermore, bruised toenail may also develop when you cut or slice your nails unintentionally with the use of a machine, box cutter, or knife. Catching or stubbing your toenail on an object may also take place, resulting in ripping or tearing.

Regardless of the trauma obtained by the toenail, blood will always be visible on the skin.


Bruised toenail may also develop due to some nail injuries. These are instance that causes a certain part of your nail to be crushed, torn, or cut among others. The parts that may be affected are skin surrounding the nail, nail bed, nail, and cuticle.

Based on the type of injury causing the development of blood under toenail, there may be a throbbing pain, torn skin, and nail separating from the bed either partially or completely.

Some injuries result in continuous bleeding, which requires immediate physician’s attention. In contrary, there are nail injuries that may be addressed by self-care.

Ill-Fitting Footwear

You are prone to bruise under toenail if you use either narrow or tight shoe. Repetitive trauma is the effect of wearing such footwear, especially now that the top material of the shoe bangs against your toenails.

On the other hand, your toenails may also get in contact with the shoe’s end. High-intensity trainers and marathoners often experience this.

If you notice that you have developed bruised toenails after a day of workout or training, an ill-fitting footwear is probably the cause. It can either be too loose or constricted.

Untrimmed Nails

If you want to know how to heal bruised toenail, you will likely have to cut your long nails. Untrimmed toenails may get caught on certain objects, leading to breakage or the nails being pulled from its bed.

Moreover, you have to be reminded that long nails are more prone to yeast and bacteria development. This is the reason why even the Infectious Disease Society of America suggested cleaning the hands and nails for at least 15 seconds.

Apart from the bruised nail, untrimmed nails may also result to the sustenance of dirt and germs.

Downhill Running

No matter how well-trained you are in downhill running, you may still be at risk of bruised toenails if you select the wrong footwear. In other words, the activity goes back to the use of ill-fitting shoes as the cause of black toenails.

For downhill running, you need extra padding and ample cushion for your forefoot. This is more important for a runner who is tall or carries extra weight.

Due to the excess bounding and hopping of your muscles, there will be contractions that will reach your feet. Your toenails will also take a beating aside from your lower back, hips, knees, and ankles.

Anti-Coagulation Medications

Anti-coagulation medicines are designed to prevent blood clots. However, these are treatments that will result in bruise under toenail. Though beneficial for other ailments, it may cause bleeding underneath your skin.

Examples of these medicines are warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel, and enoxaparin. Alternatively, you may also develop bruised nails if you take non-prescription treatments that are composed of anti-coagulants.

Apart from the said medicines, there are also other remedies that may cause bruising under the skin, such as steroids, ibuprofen, anti-cancer formulations.

Ballet Dance

Most dancers seek for bruised toenail treatment for they often encounter black nails. This is an agony for the performers, especially now that they have no choice but to use pointe shoes.

While a ballet dancer’s nails are on pointe, bruises often develop. No matter how helpful toenails are in supporting the toe’s structure, it will always be exposed to a lot of pressure.

Naturally, the nail bed of your toes is vascularised. Small ligaments also assist in the adherence of the nail plate to the bed. Repeated trauma to the plate can result in ligaments’ injury. Nail bed will then encounter a shear stress.

Consequently, small-scale bleeding will take place under the nail.

Sports Accident

Soccer players are among the common victims of bruise under toenail. Besides the extra pressure on the nails, some athletes encounter their opponents stepping on their feet.

Still, the issue directs to the choice of shoes. If your soccer shoe is too small, the smashing of toes and footwear fabric will take place. Alternatively, too loose or big footwear will result to sliding of your foot.

The said action will jam your toes against the toe box face. Most vulnerable to the given cases are long toenails.

There are soccer players who lose their toenails due to leaving these untreated. Nonetheless, simple home remedies may work for mild bruises.

Foot Sprain

Foot sprain may also cause the development of bruises under the toenails. This is common among track and field, rugby, soccer, and hockey athletes. This is due to the extreme amounts of pressure applied to their feet, which include the toes.

Besides the added pressured directed on the toes, sudden movements may also result in bruises for the natural position of the body part is altered.

Apart from sports, walking on an uneven terrain will also result to a foot sprain. This is why most experts recommend the use of minimalist shoes for protection.

The symptoms of foot sprain include discolored toes, tenderness, and pain that occurs when you move your toes.

Road traffic accident

Your toe is vulnerable to injury when driving or crossing a road. There are various scenarios can prove that road traffic accident can lead to bruised nails. Primarily, you hit the pedals too hard after a vehicle rear-ends you at stop lights.

On the other hand, road traffic accidents may cause the development of black toenails if your foot ran over by a forklift or heavy machinery.

Also, if you caught your toe in a pothole or crack on the street, you will also have the risk of bruises.

Apart from pain, swelling, and discoloration of your toes, a severe fracture of the toe may also come after a road traffic accident.

How to Treat Bruised Toenails

Once you have confirmed that your toe is indeed showing symptoms of bruise development, such as pain and discoloration, you may proceed to treatment. Addressing the problem as early as possible is best to avoid further infection.

To provide you ideas on how to alleviate the condition, here are the following:

Over-the-Counter Medicines. You can try out non-prescription remedies to address your bruised toenails. These are effective in providing relief from swelling and pain. Common examples are acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Physician Assistance. If you think your bruised toenails are getting worse and may fall off anytime soon, you should see a doctor right away. He or she will provide you antibiotics to avoid infection. They may also cut the loose toenails to prevent further tearing of the skin underneath.

There are also cases that your excess nail bed may be drained. A podiatrist does this by creating a small central hole in your toenail. Afterward, the physician will squeeze your bruised toe to remove the excess fluid, including the accumulated blood. He or she will do this until the nail bed retains its normal shade.

How to Prevent Bruised Toenails

The best treatment for bruised nails is to prevent it from developing. There are simple means of doing so, which include the following:

Do Not Use Too Narrow or Tight Shoes. Ensure that regardless of your purpose, the footwear you will wear is not too loose or constricted.

Trim Your Nails Regularly. It is best to keep your nails short, especially if you often wear closed footwear.

Use Socks. You should provide extra protection for your feet by wearing socks. Alternatively, paddings may also be equally assistive.

Be Cautious. If your job requires using tools or machinery that may lead to accidents, you should always take caution. Follow the safety guidelines of your workplace.

Natural Home Remedies for Bruised Toenails

You may also utilize home remedies to address your bruised nails. There are ones proven effective and can ensure zero side effect. Here are the following:

  • Fuller’s Earth. Applying this solution onto your entire toe along with rose water is effective in reducing pain and inflammation for it can absorb heat.
  • Turmeric Paste. This natural remedy has healing properties not only for bruises but wounds, pain, injuries, and swelling. Try adding it to lime paste before applying on your black nails.
  • Mustard Oil. The essential oil will address the discoloration, pain, and inflammation. Use it several times every day to see results.
  • Ice Compression. The solution is often regarded as the initial remedy for bruised toenails. It reduces swelling and stops the further bleeding of your nail bed. Ice also avoids infection if the surrounding skin or nail of your toes is broken.

Bruised Toenail Healing Time

The recuperation of your bruised nails depends on the severity of the condition. There are instances that toenails fall off due to the great damage caused to the nail bed. However, if you encounter your nails becoming loose, you should avoid removing it.

Even if it falls off on its own, you will still see growth after a few months. Keep the area clean and protected by using protective covering, such as a bandage.

It is always best to opt for the preventive measures instead of treatment for bruised nails. Always remind yourself that this condition does not end with discoloration since it is also associated with inflammation and pain. These symptoms may hamper your productivity and comfort in carrying out your everyday activities.

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