Nail Injuries (cont.)
Self-Care at Home
Home care should begin with initial wound care and evaluation of the injury.
- First, remove all jewelry from the affected hand or foot.
- Stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth. When the bleeding has stopped, remove the cloth and examine the injury.
- Home care may be appropriate if there is only a subungual hematoma (nail bruise) that you do not want to be drained or that occupies less than 25% of the total nail if the finger or toe is not bent or deformed, and if there are no lacerations or avulsions of the nail. Do not be too concerned if there are some minor scrapes around the nail.
- Keep the hand or foot elevated above the level of the heart. This will help with the throbbing.
- Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for pain if you are not allergic to these medications.
- Wash any cuts or scrapes in soap and water, then apply a triple antibiotic ointment and bandage.
- If there are any lacerations, avulsions, a large nail bruise, or if the finger or toe is bent (deformed), you will need to go to a hospital's emergency department.
- Do not pull at the nail or try to remove it from the nail bed. Wrap any amputated parts in a moist clean paper towel, place in a zip-locked plastic bag, then place the bag in ice. Bring this with you to the hospital's emergency department.
- Wrap hand or foot in a clean towel.
- Check on whether your tetanus immunization is current.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/6/2014
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