A subungual hematoma is a small collection of blood (hematoma) between the nail bed and the nail. It initially appears as a purple area but turns black after a few days. Subungual hematomas may result from a single injury to the nail or from chronic trauma and cause severe, throbbing pain. Despite this, the condition is not serious, and a variety of treatment options are available depending on the size of the hematoma.
Subungual hematomas can be caused by a single, acute injury that crushes the tip of the finger or toe, such as a blow from a hammer, the impact of a heavy object, or slamming the finger in a door. Repetitive trauma to the nail, such as ill-fitting shoes, can cause the injury over time. Athletes are particularly at risk, as the running motion forces the toes into the front of the shoe — this is sometimes called "runner's toe." Trauma to the nail bed causes the small blood vessels to bleed into the area underneath the nail.
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