Call 911 if:
- The fingertip or toe has been partially or completely amputated
- Major bleeding doesn't stop after 10 minutes of pressure
1. When to See a Health Care Provider
Go to an emergency room or call a health care provider quickly if:
- The finger or toe is deformed, which may indicate fracture or dislocation. if you are unable to straighten and bend your finger normally, it may indicate a fracture or a tendon injury.
- The wound looks deep or long enough to need stitches.
- Discoloration or a bruise under the nail covers more than a quarter of the nail or there is continuing, intense pain.
- The nail is completely torn off or partially cut off from a crush injury or cut.
2. Stop Bleeding
- Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth.
3. Clean and Protect the Wound
- If the nail is torn, use sterile scissors to cut off rough edges to prevent further injury.
- Clean the wound and torn nail area with soap and warm water.
- Apply antibiotic ointment and bandage.
4. Treat Symptoms
- For swelling, ice the area and elevate the injured area above the heart.
5. Follow Up
- Continue to use ice and over-the-counter pain medication as needed. Pain and swelling should clear up within a week. It can take several months for a nail that has separated from the nailbed to grow back.
- Change the bandage daily. If signs of infection develop -- such as pus, redness, or heat around the nail or a red streak extending from the wound -- call a health care provider promptly.
- The person may need a tetanus shot or booster, depending on the date of last booster shot.