Treating Smashed Fingers

Smashed fingers & toes are common & memorable events. Some nails re-grow beautifully while others are permanently misshapen.

Question

Dr. Greene, my 15-month-old recently got her finger smashed in the door by her 2-year-old sister. I kept an eye on the nail and noticed it got yellowish, and within a week or so it had fallen off and was just attached at the cuticle. I trimmed it down as far as I could. There is a very thin nail coming in underneath. Do I keep this fingernail covered up somehow or let it breathe? How long until a new, normal, strong nail comes in?
Osmond, Nebraska

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Slam! Smash! Slam! I vividly remember three separate finger-in-the-door episodes from my childhood. In one instance I was the culprit, inadvertently slamming a door on my friend Fernando’s finger. Twice I was the “smashee” – once with my finger caught in the door of my parents’ Chevy Nova and once in my own bedroom door.

It’s not hard to recall the shock of pain, the subsequent dull throbbing, the curious sight of the nail later falling off, and the fascination of a new, healthy nail replacing the old one. I wish the sequence could go that smoothly for all children. It doesn’t.

In the great flurry of childhood activity (don’t you wish you had some of their energy?), smashed fingers and toes are common and memorable events. Whether trapped in doors, banged by hammers, or hit by bricks, some nails re-grow beautifully while others are permanently misshapen.

With most of these accidents, swelling and bruising of the soft tissues and underlying bones are the only injuries.

Treating Smashed Fingers at Home

Soaking the finger or toe in cold water immediately after the trauma can reduce both pain and swelling. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen administered right away can also help prevent some of the pain. While taking care of these things (and administering a few hugs and kisses for good measure), you can decide whether or not your child needs to see a doctor.

When to see a Doctor for Smashed Fingers

  • Blood collects under the nail, causing increasing pain.
  • The finger or toe can’t be straightened and bent easily.
  • The injury causes immediate damage to the nail, such as a visible tear below the “quick”.
  • The skin is open and may need stitches.
  • There is dirt in the wound you can’t wash out.

Sometimes blood collects under the nail — what we call a subungual hematoma. When handled properly, this does not increase or decrease the odds of the nail healing well. If enough blood is trapped to cause painful throbbing, the nail should be evaluated.

Should Your Doctor Pierce the Nail?

Often the physician will pierce the nail to relieve the pressure. The physician might use a red-hot paper clip, an 18-gauge needle, or an electrocautery machine. While the procedure sounds gruesome (and looks dramatic when the blood starts to spurt from the hole), most children feel great relief and no discomfort. The hot tool glides through the nail like butter.

Fractures of the bone in the fingertip are not common with this type of injury, but need special treatment if they are present. They are considered open fractures (as if the bone had come through the skin) and require treatment with antibiotics. You might suspect a fracture from the force of the blow, the appearance of the finger or toe, a lack of mobility, or persistent pain for more than three days.

Will the Nail Fall Off?

As happened with your daughter, the nail will sometimes fall off days or weeks after the injury. What happens when the nail falls off? One group of investigators found that the nail grew back with excellent or very good results in 85% of those studied, with poor results in only 2%. Sometimes the new nail will look different from the original nail no matter what has been done to treat it. But, if the nail is visibly torn at the time of injury, the nail bed might need stitches. Suturing a nail bed that has been torn can dramatically increase the odds of the nail healing well.

The new fingernail will grow at an average of 1 mm per week (0.5-1.2 mm). Toenails grow at one-third to one-half this rate. Overall, four months is the average time for complete re-growth of a fingernail. Re-growth of a nail in a toddler or preschooler may only take a month or two.

In the meantime, you have done well to keep the nail remnant trimmed to avoid it catching and tearing. Be sure to keep it clean. Exposing it to the air is good, but when your daughter is playing where she might get the nail bed dirty, cover it with a lightweight bandage (perhaps with a little Betadine). See the doctor if there is any sign of infection (redness, pus, swelling, or increasing pain). While your daughter’s finger is healing, get some pictures of the process. These will help to recall the event and to marvel over the way our bodies heal.

If you have further questions about treating a smashed finger or toe, feel free to leave a comment below.

About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

I smashed my finger and my moms “All metal” Car, It hurts a lot, I put ice on it. Ive been sleeping with ice. I took some ibuprofen. the blood under the nail is turning purple, blue greenish. What should i do!

Sierra,

Ouch! I remember that feeling so well. Ice and ibuprofen should help. Has the swelling gone down yet? Is there pressure under the nail from the blood collection?

Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

how do you get the nail off

Background:
About a month ago, I caught the top section of my right index finger in a car door.
Needed two stitches. Has healed well.

I still have some numbness – it feels like the sensation you have when you have a blister – numb and puffy, can feel the pressure moving around when I push on it. I was wondering if that could mean there is fluid build up inside the finger? And, if so, is there a way to help the finger get rid of the excess fluid? Soaking, massaging, etc?
I don’t think lancing would be an option because 1) I’m not sure there is fluid, 2) Infection risk, 3) I think it is too deep.

Thoughts?

Day before yesterday I Caught my index finger in a door.I have little bit pain in Distal phalanx area bone but I move and band properly.So what should I do now. It’s that broken or not.

I smashed my finger in my locker at school and it really hurts. It turned purple a little bit then saw the school nurse and she gave me an ice pack. Yesterday I smashed it and it really really hurts what do I do? I can bend it somewhat, but it will hurt to do it.

My fingertip was smashed in the car door and my nail is fine, the next day the skin around my nail was yellow and was bleeding a tiny bit but my nail is not cracked at all.

what exercises can I do on my hand since I smashed it on a folding table , and the numbness wont go away …….its been about a week or so since it happen or will I feel numbness on my finger for ever…..please help!

My finger got smashed in the car door approximately 2 weeks ago. There was blood under the nail and it’s 100% of my nail, but the nurse didn’t puncture a hole or remove my nail. It is not as painful now, but day by day, the side of my nail curve down and stab my finger tip. I can see that the nail is like shrinking and it keep digging into my skin. It is painful and irritating. I can only trim it a little bit but not a lot because it’s painful when the nail gets lifted up. What should I do?

I smashed my middle finger with a 15 pound bowling ball last Thursday. I immediately put ice on it. I can bend the finger with pain. Should I continue to ice it or add heat or both?

I’m 14 and I just smashed my finger in the car door about an hour ago, as far as I can see & feel, there is no sign of fracture, but there was a whole lot of swelling and bruising. It’s been 2 hours since the incident and the swelling has gone down a bit but the stiffness & partial numbness is still there. I can move my thumb, but not with much pressure. Should I see a doctor?

HELP! I was just out doing yard work with my family and when placing a large piece of wood down, I almost dropped it. As I went to catch it, my finger got slammed in-between 2 pieces of wood. Feeling the immediate pain, I grabbed my finger and held it for quite some time. When I looked at it, I saw blood underneath the nail and I touched it. I could tell I ripped half the nail off of my finger. I am assuming that it will fall off…right? Also, It doesn’t help that I just recently got my nails done, with acrylic tips so I can’t really see my actual nail, just the fake one. My finger is throbbing. I took some Advil just now and I was soaking it in cold water. Is there anything else I should do?

What happened? I had the wind blow my car door shut on my finger the days ago. I have fake nails kike from the drugstore glued on and the emergency room I can went to was horrible. They didn’t even properly exam me, didn’t clean my finger at all, didn’t give me ice or even ibuprofen. Too x-rays gave me a tetanus booster and sent me packing pretty much. My fingers better but there’s a lot of swelling around my nail and I think I can see a cut near the under side of the nail. I’m afraid to try and remove the fake nail but sometime today Saturday it looks infected and that I need to clean it with peroxide or I’ll end up having it cleaned at the hospital.

I hate smashing my thumb in the car door

My husband hit his middle finger with a hammer back on April 13, 2018. He has a hole in the middle of the nail and a long crack. The hole is from when I pierced a hole to relieve the pressure. I have been cleaning it. I put neosporin and gave him advil for the pain. He has no pain, but when he takes a shower the soap burns by the nail. The new nail is coming out and still the hole is exposed. What other medication or cream could I use on his finger.

enjoyed your site. Smashed my right ringer finger between bag of magazines and the steel side of container I was putting them in. :>(. Pain is lessening now as I soaked in alcohol, put on cold compress and rubbed some “rescue” remedy on it. However, first phalange is tender and seems to have a bump at beginning of second phalange. I’m using it to try and keep it mobile and usable. Most of pain is in first phalange and there’s a tiny blue spot underneath nail a little way down from cuticle.

Okay so when I was 6 years old my middle finger was slammed in a car door with the nail turning a yellowish color… 11 years later a new nail has not returned. It’s still the same brown, yellow and red nail with fungus underneath? It grows like a regular nail and I still trim, but will a new nail ever come? Will this nail fall off?

I literally closed my right hand index finger in my driver door exiting the car. Hurt bad at first. Next day no pain. BUT. I’m noticing now that my finger is Cold from the middle joint to the tip. Its driving me crazy. Can anyone tell me what to do with this..?

I smashed my finger nail a week ago and the swelling hasn’t gone down, it still hurts, and the bruising has covered my whole finger nail. What should I do? If I get it drained will the finger nail come off?

I recently smashed my finger in the door (yesterday, about 9:10 in the morning) when I was playfully trying to not let my friends in the classroom (class had not yet started). It was my whole body weight against my finger (I weigh about 108 pounds). It turned blue, but just my nail is blue. It is now a lighter blue and it still throbs a little, and feels weird when I touch it or it touches something. I can’t use it, but I can bend and straighten it, just not in half. It is also hot and feels sensitive to cold things.

i just got my fingers slammed in the trunk of our car it did not hit the knuckles but it did leve a small hole in my finder and ive been icing it and icing it but i cant move it stright or out of the postition i moved my hand in when it got hurt. It has been a day not and the swelling has gone down but not by much should i got to the doctor?

my suggestion would be go see a doctor the longer u wait the worser it will get

Hi, I Smashed my thumb from my left hand two days after thanksgiving. Which has been 1 month and two weeks and my nail still hasn’t fallen off.. it’s black for starters but just from the left sode of my thumb and then it has a shape of a little hill and it grows more than my other nails. I’m wondering will it fall off? Is it fixing itself? And putting nail polish will it do anything to it?

My nail was traumatized a few years ago and most of my nail came off. It is finally growing back in because I was told to keep it dry. So I started using finger cots while washing dishes and showering. They were extremely helpful. Now the nail tip is almost to the edge of my fingertip, however, it is growing downward into the fingertip rather than growing straight out. Is there a way that I can help it grow out rather than into my fingertip? It just needs to get over the edge.

Hello. I’ve been through the recovery process of a pretty bad thumb jam in the car door, my nail is slowly growing back now, it’s about a third of the way there, although growing back quite ‘thick’. My question is are fake nails (acrylics) going to affect the growing process?

Hello so I smashed my thumb from my knuckle up and there was bleeding from the bottom of my nail externally as well as bleeding that clotted under my nail causing pressure. So my question is what happens if you do not get the clot under the nail removed? Can you just Let It Go and Let It Be? Especially because with mine all the blood is pooled at the bottom of my nail about the bottom half and there’s still slight swelling and pressure above my knuckle. Thanks~

Hi! Yesterday I smashed my fingertip in car door , it hurts a little but it feels so numb, is this symptom normal? Thank you.

The gate smashed my thumb nail and is almost a month now can’t see any re-growth of nail, I can see my flesh and the old nail haven’t falling off , is anything wrong with it me ,am scared

My mom got her ring finger smashed in her car door she can’t drive because her finger can’t bend can yo give me suggestions on what she can do? Please and thank you

About a week ago I got my right index finger tip caught between some weights. Hurt, but I finished my workout. The swollen finger turned a purplish-bluish down to the second joint almost immediately with moderate pain. I iced it and within days the swelling and pain went away — Except — the tip of the finger still has about a level one (little) pain. The nail is not discolored, but is sensitive (level one) to pressing touch. Will this pain eventually go away?
I can move and use the finger with no problem. But, I am concerned about a fracture in the tip of my finger, or permanent nerve damage. Am I just being a big weight-lifting baby?

how can I see your replies, please?

About three weeks ago I jammed my thumb nail. It started with a thin white vertical line, which has since widened. The tip of my thumb is now protruding. The pain is horrible and unending. Swollen and burning. I am almost done with the antibiotics but it feels like pressure. So painful. Any advice appreciated.

Hello,

My finger nail got smashed in my car door about 3-4 weeks ago. It appears only half the nail died and where the half died it has detached but still attached where it does not appear to be dead. I am lost at what to do for the part that is still attached. I have no pain day in and day out, but it does hurt if I try to lift up where it appears to still be alive and attached which is at the bottom 30% of my finger nail closer to the tip of my finger. I do not have health insurance at this time and can not afford to go see a doctor to have it surgically removed. Is there any recommendations please?

Soak it in warm water, hopefully it will soften up the skin around it and will be less painful during detachment? Just a thought..Hope this helps! Good luck!

Last week, I banged my thumb into a door, because I was trying to shut it. I felt immediate pain and it hurt for the next two days. The bruise was healing perfectly, getting lighter, but all of a sudden I feel the nail loosening. So I wrapped it up. After two days, the nail started turning darker, blacker, scarier. Should i be worried? Things were going so well, its getting a bit worse. What does this mean?

I accidentally got my finger smashed by the bathroom door day before yesterday. The upper part of my finger got swollen,my nail turned blue black and it had cuts all over which were bleeding. My mother immediately treated it by applying turmeric and that night it was paining alot so I took a pain killer . The next day however it wasn’t paining that much but when I touched something it again stimulated pain in my finger. Today the sides of my finger too have turned blue black and the skin below my nail too has swollen. I have an exam to write this Friday . Can I please get a quick remedy.

Hi Prachi,

Thanks so much for writing! I’m sorry to hear about your finger, that sounds painful.

As Dr. Greene writes, “Soaking the finger or toe in cold water… can reduce both pain and swelling. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen… can also help prevent some of the pain… Sometimes blood collects under the nail — what we call a subungual hematoma. When handled properly, this does not increase or decrease the odds of the nail healing well. If enough blood is trapped to cause painful throbbing, the nail should be evaluated.”

Hope that helps,
Alexandra (caring helper at DrGreene.com, not a doctor)

I my smashed my finger in the door, at a store,and only the bottom of it came off and now the top of it is about to come off and it has a little of blue on the edge. Should I do something????

I crushed my left ring finger at work last week, basically squeezed it very hard. Immediately after doing it, my finger was visibly smashed looking, but there was no broken skin, and I could bend and move it. It swelled pretty dramatically, and was painful for a few days. Now it itches, and I noticed that it is warm to the touch. There is a bruise under the nail, red not black, and a corresponding reddish bruise on the pad. Is there anything I should be concerned about? I have no medical insurance, so did not see a dr, I am just concerned about the itching and warmth. Is this just healing, or could I have a problem? Thank you for your time and attention

content://media/external/file/2954
I hope u can see the picture. But this is how it looks after my daughter smashed her right thumb with the bedroom door really hard.
In case that you don’t see the picture; a white yucky thing came out of the root of her thumb. We treated lt with ice cold water and more ice. Then antibioticts cream last night. Still dont know whatelse to do. Can can’t bend it. It is hatd and ahe said it is hot on her finger. She barely can move it. But she said that ahw is better. Ahe is u years old. What should I do? I am Clueless!

Olka,

I can not see the photo, but your description will suffice.

The biggest concern with a smashed finger that can’t be bent is the possibility of a broken bone, or worse, a broken joint. If she were my daughter, I would take to the doctor. She will likely need an x-ray. Of note, when my son had a smashed finger from a closing door, I took him to the ER. It wasn’t broken and he was fine, but I didn’t want to run the risk.

I hope that helps.
@MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Hey doctor,
A few months ago I slammed my finger in the car door and my whole nail turned blackish-red from the blood filling it. I’ve been letting it grow out but I got fake nails a few weeks ago (beginning of January)that I took off recently. When I took them off the nail had grew some but there was a little hole in the nail from where they filed my actual nail. Today the bottom of the hole came off so now it’s a big hole from my cuticle to the middle of my nail. Underneath it is clear and seems to be another nail(it’s hard so it’s not the meat under the nail) where blood is inbetween it and the nail on top. Is it okay for me to take it off? It’s pretty much coming off itself but I’m nervous that closer to the top of my nail the meat will be exposed if it comes off. Is there a way I can send you a picture I feel like my explanation is kind of hard to understand. Please respond thanks!!

Hi doctor,

my 22 months old baby (boy)got his finger crushed under the door ,
we are so worried as he got his nail almost detached from the finger.We took him to the doctor who told us to go for an x-ray,we did the same and x-ray was fine i.e. no bone injury.then he asked us to do daily dressing
my questions are:
1- baby screams incredibly while dressing as nail is half attached to the skin n everytime bandage stuck to the wound so can we ask for any pain killer or make finger numb.
2-how long it will take to regrow a nail completely in toddlers.
3-when can we remove this partially attached n remaining nail.
4-baby is getting fever also

Reetesh,

Oh, how hard! I’m so sorry.

Unfortunately, I can’t answer most of your questions, but I can tell you that if your child is running a fever, it’s time to call his doctor again as this might be a sign of an infection (depending on how high the fever is). When you call, ask the other questions. I’m sure your doctor will want to help.

It is wise to have all your blood retested. It’s not uncommon for blood types to be different than they are thought.

Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

My 16 year old daughter was bringing our garbage cans down to the curb, when she slipped on a patch of black ice, and our large garbage can came down and landed on her right middle finger, and her ring finger. It swelled up a little bit, but she can’t straighten it or hold a pencil with it. There seems to be no bruising, she says it hurts really bad and she can’t feel the tip of her finger.. What would it be, she has been researching possible conclusions, but she always finds the worse case. Please help.

Tina,

Researching on the internet often leads to the worse case scenario. A friend of ours says, “A headache is just four clicks from a brain tumor”.

This may well be a “normal” (if slipping on black ice and smashing your fingers is normal!) smashed finger. But it could be broken and would need treatment to heal properly. For that reason, taking her to see her doctor would be wise.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Hey Dr. my daughters finger was smashed last night by the door when she was playing with me and her siblings. The way the door caught her finger pulled the nail right off. We gave ibuprofen and tried to treat it. Today her bursted from the swelling should I take her in to the ER or is the common? I took some pictures but I’m unable to upload doesn’t give me the option. She’s acting as if nothing is wrong with her finger should we wrap it? I’m kind of lost on what to do…. thanks in advance

Hi Ronald , just wanted to ask you what happened with your daughter? You take her to the doctor after all and if so what did he say? My son got he’s finger nail ripped off while riding he’s dirt bike over the weekend and he said it dosent hurt but the nail bed is exposed and he’s acting like everything is Ok?

Hi Ronald,
Thanks for writing in! I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s fingers.

Dr. Greene’s advice on when to see your doctor for smashed fingers is if:
“Blood collects under the nail, causing increasing pain.
The finger or toe can’t be straightened and bent easily.
The injury causes immediate damage to the nail, such as a visible tear below the “quick”.
The skin is open and may need stitches.
There is dirt in the wound you can’t wash out.”

Hope that helps!
Alexandra (caring helper at drgreene.com, not a doctor)

About 2 weeks back my 6yr old slammed his finger in the car door. He was immediately addressed to the school nurse. She gave some ice pack and Tylenol. The pain was gone in about 3 days. But there is still the blackish blue mark in his nail. Does it needs to be punctured to get the blood out?

Hi Arati,
Thanks so much for writing in! I’m sorry to hear about your son’s finger getting slammed in the car door. Great to hear that the pain is gone!

As for the blackish blue mark, here is what Dr. Greene’s post says:
“Sometimes blood collects under the nail — what we call a subungual hematoma. When handled properly, this does not increase or decrease the odds of the nail healing well. If enough blood is trapped to cause painful throbbing, the nail should be evaluated.”

I hope that helps! Best wishes,
Alexandra (caring helper at drgreene.com, but not a doctor)

I was playing baseball in a minor league and the pitcher threw the ball wild and it smashed my finger against the bat its been 1 month and a half and the front of my nail has a jagged pattern of blood and its like black and from the middle of the nail and back is just red all the blood what fo i do??

My niece hands got in a car door we immediately did icing and did the icing for about 3 hours its been 4 days and its still blue and also the skin beneath the nails is getting blue and also is still swollen we applied a cream suggested by a doctor now should we go for an xray or we should wait?”Plz reply me

Yesterday I smashed my index finger and middle finger into the car door. While the middle finger has gotten better compared to the index, it still has blood spots underneath the skin. The index finger is really messy, the skin was ripped up from half way of the first bend in the finger all the way to the nail. It’s been a full day and the nail is almost complete black. It still bleed from time to time, and the pain can some times be unbearable. What should I do?!?!

I hit my fingernail on something, but I don’t know what. The nail turned largely white, and in the shower today it began to peel off. The finger is purple underneath and it hurts to move the finger because I can feel it in the nail. The last time this happened my older brother had run over my little toe with his chair (that he was sitting in). The nail bled for a few days last time and that was 6 months ago. It also fell off. I am worried because of two things. One, the new toenail is bleeding on and off, and two, my parents are telling me my nail will fall off and I don’t want to lose a nail. Will it really fall off? Is the bleeding of the little nail normal? I read the ice part, but my parents told me they will not get my any ice, so I can just wait until it doesn’t hurt anymore. I am younger than 15 and older than 10. I am pretty healthy.

Ice isn’t absolutely necessary, but is a highly recommended pain moderator. You should really get your parents to at least contact your doctor and inform them of your situation.

Why the heck won’t your parents get you ice once they saw your nail fell off? And if they don’t give u ice, freeze some your selve!! Are you parents(not trying to be rude) stupid??? What, do they know nothing about health care??

My finger was hurt at work while getting pumpkins out of a pallet container I was going fast and the finger went straight into a pumpkin and got a toothpick like pumpkin skin under the nail. I pulled it out and they sent me to urgent care, the doctors diagnosed it as cellulitis and paronchia (spelled wrong I believe) for over two months. They did an I&D because the swelling wasn’t getting better and last week took the nail off because the pressure wasn’t better. It’s been almost a week and under the nail looks a lot better however there is still swelling around the distal part of finger below where the nail would be. Will the swelling go away soon? It doesn’t look red, just lifted. And x-rays all came back negative for anything as far as bone infection or fracture or anything possibly still there. All that was negative. So I’m hoping the swelling will go away?

I closed and auto locked my car door on the upper quadrant of my thumb a week and a half ago. Had an X-ray to find it is not broken.
I have very little feeling in the upper part of my thumb. It is numb.
Is there anything I can do i.e. exercises that could help regain feeling.

My thumb were smashed against the car’s door. Apparently, thumb seems “exploding” and blood were running out of the root part of the finger. My mom decided to wrap my thumb tightly. My thumb is now throbbing and somehow changed to pale – like really really pale with a blueish tint to it. Ehat should I do.

What ever happen to ur thumb u slammed in the car door i just did the same thing i just wrapped it up tight i think the tip of my thumb is just about off but it throbs so bad can t slerp

Stephanie,

That sounds like it’s wrapped too tightly. I’d suggest wrapping it with less tension. If it continues to bleed, time for to see a doctor.

Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

I’m little sister slam the door on my pinky of the nail and it was so much pressure it started to bleed from the back and a day later it’s bruised and I can’t feel anything😩😢

I was cleaning my garden an i am very stuborn so i tryed to move a big rock an while i was moving it it went the wrong way an i tryed catching it for some reason an it smashed my finger now my nail is red an purple but the skin on the other side is swollen black an is the size of a grape what can i do to relive the swelling an the pain i cant touch anything with out it hurting

I was closing the door and I smashed my finger. It really hurts. My friend say it will fall off. What do I do? I don’t want it to fall off

Hey Finger Really Hurts,

Dr. Greene says, “Soaking the finger or toe in cold water immediately after the trauma can reduce both pain and swelling. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen administered right away can also help prevent some of the pain.”

See a Doctor for Smashed Fingers When
– Blood collects under the nail, causing increasing pain.
– The finger or toe can’t be straightened and bent easily.
– The injury causes immediate damage to the nail, such as a visible tear below the “quick”.
– The skin is open and may need stitches.
– There is dirt in the wound you can’t wash out.

The severity of the injury will determine if the nail will fall off or not.

I hope that’s helpful, @MsGreene
Note: I answer a lot of questions on DrGreene.com, I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, Dr. Greene’s business partner and wife, but I am a not doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

About 5 months ago I tripped over a big rock and smashed half of my big toe. It immediately turned black and hurt for a day, but then besides the ugly half of my toe it seemed fine. Well last night I noticed the black half of my toe has lifted from the nail bed. It didn’t hurt, I just felt it with my other foot in bed and thought my nail polish was peeling off. Upon further inspection I noticed it wasn’t only the polish, but half of the nail as well. Why did it take so long to fall off? Also, the undamaged part of my nail wants to stay put, so what do I do? Do I cut off the damaged part? For now I got freaked out and put a touch of super glue on it so it doesn’t tear. Help!