Causes of Bruised Toenails

Bruised toenails, also termed subungual hematomas, are characterized by a darkened nail. This is caused by bleeding under the toenail, which can become painful. Bruised toenails are common among ballet dancers, especially those who dance on pointe. This action places a great deal of force on the toenail and often causes the nail to pull away from the bed. Bruised toenails can also result from dropping a heavy object on the toe. To relieve the pressure of a bruised toenail, it may be necessary to drain the blood underneath the nail. A podiatrist can carry out this procedure by drilling a tiny hole in the nail to release the blood and swabbing it with alcohol to avoid infection. Resting the foot for a few days is recommended to give the nail bed a chance to heal. To avoid future toe bruising, it is wise to keep toenails trimmed short. For help with bruised toenails, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist for safe treatment.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of Biebel & DeCotiis Podiatry Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Holmdel and Middletown, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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