Nail Bed Injury

A nail bed injury can be very painful and prevent you from using your fingers; however, these injuries are treatable.

Figure 1
The anatomy of the nail bed and surrounding structures
Figure 2
The anatomy of the nail bed and surrounding structures from a side view


A nail bed injury can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts to the nailbed or fingertip
  • Cuts to the tendons that straighten or bend the fingertip
  • Cuts to the nerve endings

These injuries are typically a result of incidents such as catching the fingertip in a door. Any type of pinching, crushing or sharp cut to the fingertip may result in a nail bed injury.

Simple crushes of the fingertip may result in a very painful collection of blood under the nail. More severe injuries can result in the nail cracking into pieces, part of the nail or fingertip being torn off, and/or other injuries to the finger.


Your doctor will ask you information about how the injury occurred. X-rays may be taken to look for broken bones that may require treatment. Your doctor may not know the full extent of the injury until the nail is examined closely, which means you would be given local anesthesia. Other medical conditions that may affect healing should be discussed with your doctor.

This content is written, edited and updated by hand surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.Find a hand surgeon near you.
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