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.
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.
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.