What happened to my nail?
February 27, 2016 10:41 PM   Subscribe

somewhat silly question within...

The other day while getting ready for work I suddenly noticed what looked like a blister under the nail of my index finger. It didn't hurt or anything and seemed to appear as if from nowhere, but it was just like a puffed up blister of skin that pulled away from where the nail plate met the nail bed. I couldn't remember hitting my nail against anything or any sort of trauma that happened to it, so I kind of shrugged it off.

Today I notice that the nail plate has separated from the nail bed a little bit, so the white part of the nail extends a little deeper than the rest of my nails. The nail isn't yellowed or rough or anything like that, it's just pulled away a bit so I can see "further" under the nail (if you know what I mean). I know nails are resilient and there's probably nothing wrong, I'm just slightly irritated by it and curious about what could have happened. I did get a manicure a few days before this but none of my other fingernails had this happen.

Anyone have any idea?
posted by sprezzy to Grab Bag (3 answers total)
I'm not a doctor, but it sounds like paronychia, likely from pushing/trimming your cuticles during the manicure. My skin is irritable so I get a touch of this whenever anyone messes with my nails and it goes away on its own, but if your finger is warm or blistery, definitely go to the doctor.
posted by thetortoise at 11:20 PM on February 27, 2016

Infections under the nail bed are really common. I got one a few months ago via a hangnail and it totally freaked me out, but after extensive cringey googling and calling my mom, I soaked my finger in hot water a few times a day, kept it dry and clean the rest of the time, and the infection got abruptly grosser (puss! under the nail! omg!) and then healed up just fine.

Apparently this kind of thing can get quite bad and then you have to see a doctor to cut it open and drain it and sometimes there are stitches, so don't just ignore it. But sometimes they happen and heal and you barely notice them! All that's left is a bit of extra dry skin that interferes with the nail bed adhering to the nail until it all grows out again.

I suspect your manicure exacerbated some preexisting irritation and you're just now noticing it. If it gets tender or a little red or swollen, get it looked at if you can. I might also, if I were you, think twice about the hygiene of that manicure place.
posted by Mizu at 11:24 PM on February 27, 2016

I'm with Mizu - I had one of these under a toenail... out of site, out of mind... well, till it started hurting like h**l. Nail got really thick. I went to the doctor, he gave me sulfa antibiotics, and an appointment with the podiatrist. Said it was a bacterial infection.
The sulfa seemed to help some, but what I think really knocked it out was soaking it in water as hot as I could stand - I figured if fevers were supposed to kill bacteria, then this would do it.
It did. When i dried the nail a (gross warning) a bunch of puss came out from between the cuticle and the top of the nail - this was evidently a good thing according to the podiatrist.
Podiatrist told me that now a fungal infection had probably set in, gave me some drops to put on it. Told me the nail would "self-shed" or they would cut it out if it didn't. It shed, no real pain.
New thin nail growing back in now.
posted by rudd135 at 5:19 AM on February 28, 2016

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