First aid

Updated 09 February 2015

Crushed fingers and blood under the nail

Do you know what to do in the case of crushed fingers? Or when you have blood under your nail?


Crushed fingers
If the injury is limited to the fingertip and the finger is not deformed or severely swollen, there's seldom need to visit the doctor. Apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling. See a doctor if the injury involves more than the fingertip.

Blood under the nail
The pressure created by blood under the nail can be very painful because there is no way for it to escape. Draining the blood through a hole will relieve the pain, but only do so if you have severe, throbbing pain. Do not perform this procedure if you are diabetic or have blood circulation problems.

  • Straighten a steel paper clip. Hold it with a pair of pliers and heat the tip in a flame until it is red hot.
  • Place the hot tip of the paper clip on the nail and allow it to melt through – don't use any pressure. Reheat the paper clip if necessary and repeat. The blood will eventually seep through the hole and give pain relief. The procedure is not painful as the nail itself has no feeling.
  • If there is no pain relief, it might indicate a more serious injury, such as a broken toe or finger. See your doctor
  • If the problem returns, repeat the procedure using the same hole. Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the nail.


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