Finger Hand Nail Bed Injury

Nail Bed Injuries: Types, Causes and Treatment

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Dr. Avery Arora with Michigan Surgery Specialists explains the causes of and treatment options for nailbed injuries.

The hand has a substantial number of bones, not to mention quite a few other important parts including ligaments, tendons, joints, the nails and the nail bed. An injury to the hand can cause damage to any and all of these locations. The nail and the nail bed are two of the areas that many people rarely consider when they think about injuries to their hand.

Types of Injuries to the Nail Bed

The most common type of nail injury is a crushing injury, which could happen to a single nail, or several at the same time depending on what happens. Dropping something heavy on the hand, and having it hit the nails or hitting the nail with a hammer while working are just two of the possible ways that you could have a crushing injury to the nail. It’s also possible to puncture the nail. Injuries to the nail bed could also mean there is damage to other parts of your finger and hand.

For example, if you were to suffer a crushing injury to your nail, the bone in the tip of your finger could also be fractured, which would require treatment as well. When there is more than mere bruising to the finger, whether there is a fracture or the nail bed is destroyed, you will need to have restoration and the proper treatment. In severe cases, the best option is to work with a qualified hand surgeon who can ensure your hand receives the best possible care.

What Treatments Are Available?

The exact type of treatment will vary based on the nature of the injury, as well as the severity. In many cases, a minor surgical treatment is needed to help drain the pooling blood from the nail. The nail will generally be lost, but it will grow back. The majority of the time, there is not any actual permanent damage or disfigurement to the finger or the nail.

However, if the injury to the nail is more severe, or if there are fractures to contend with as well, the treatment methods are more complex. They will often require the expertise of a hand specialist, and you may need to undergo surgery. If the nail bed is partially missing, the surgeon may use grafts from other fingers. In some cases, they may even take grafts from toes.

It is important to follow up with all of the proper appointments with the hand surgeon so he or she can see how the nail is progressing. Most of the time, the nail will grow back and have a normal appearance. It can take a varying amount of time for the nail to grow back entirely, but most patients should have a new nail fully formed in about six months. In the event of complications, it could take longer.

Find a Hand Surgery Specialist

When you are dealing with nail and nail bed injuries, your best option is to work with a hand surgeon. They understand and can provide you with the best treatments. Find a hand surgeon near you.


Dr. Avery Arora is a hand surgeon in Livonia, Michigan and has been considered to be a “top doctor” in his field as selected by other medical doctors and surgeons. He specializes in the care and rehabilitation of medical problems related to the hand, wrist, forearm, and elbow and is affiliated with multiple hospitals, including Botsford Hospital and Oakland Regional Hospital.

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  • Laila Ayyeh
    March 18, 2019 at 4:54 AM

    The baby is in Dubai and the finger got in the door about 2 months ago. Will the old nail fall of by itself or have to be removed ? It is loose from the nail bed but not from the sides

  • Darlene
    December 2, 2018 at 12:04 PM

    2months ago, I had a back xray. My fingers were crushed, nail bed specifically, by machine. My nail bed are discolored. Is this normal?

    • December 2, 2018 at 12:13 PM


      We highly recommend that you revisit the hand surgeon who treated your injury initially to follow up on your nail bed. If you need to find a new specialist near you, you can visit our website at All of our surgeons are board-certified members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

      American Society for Surgery of the Hand

  • Kelly Griffin
    November 25, 2018 at 8:15 PM

    I have a puppy St. Bernard, I was giving him a treat and as he went to bite the biscuit he missed and bit my fingernail with his natural force as he would to bite down on a hard treat, he punctured my fingernail lunula… what do i do

    • November 26, 2018 at 7:55 AM


      We highly recommend that you see a hand surgeon as soon as possible to avoid infection of your wound. You can find a board-certified surgeon in your area by using our tool at

      American Society for Surgery of the Hand

  • July 6, 2018 at 7:50 AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us through your post. Good job, Keep posting and share your valuable tips with us.

  • sandra ann a
    May 22, 2018 at 6:51 AM

    I also had acrylic nails. I removed them bc it’s too painful to keep having my real nails, which are paper-thin, grinded down even more. My own nails are completely destroyed but growing out–but my right thumb (worst possible finger to get hurt for me) won’t even begin to heal. It leaked clear liquid for a week. Another two weeks and it just grows out a lump of tissue…I pulled it off when it built up but it keeps growing! I’m leaving it alone but what is this??! How can I treat it? It isn’t infected–yet.

  • Pam Moore
    May 4, 2018 at 7:33 PM

    I had a pin prick on the top of my finger just where the nail bed starts under my nail. Since then, as my nail grows, it leaves a chasm where the pin prick was. I cannot get that nail to grow above the nail bed without that split down to the nail bed. Is there anything I can do to fix it?

  • Nidia Rodriguez
    April 20, 2018 at 2:01 PM

    Dr. I am extremely concern with my fingernails. I had acrylic nails until last week, Since November I wanted to change the set and to my surprise all my nails were yellow, dried, unbelievable…I went to another dermatology today, and he said that I have no cuticle/nail bed…I am extremely concern. What would you recommend, please advise…

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