Slammed a door on my toe - should it be better?
November 8, 2019 4:04 PM   Subscribe

I slammed a door on my big toe while wearing flip flops about a week and a half ago. Under my nail is a little sliver of blue - I think that's blood because I poked it thinking it was dirt and it bled. Anyway, I'm worried because it's still very tender to the touch. Although I've been walking on it since I hurt it and it's not crazy painful. Should I go to the doctor or just let it heal? I know YANMD but just curious. I can afford to go to the doctor but I just don't want to take an extra trip.
posted by starlybri to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I don't think there's anything a doctor would be able to do, except tell you to keep it clean and watch for signs of infection.
posted by bleep at 4:08 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]

Yeah, probably watch for signs of infection and let it be. A doctor probably won't do much for a hurty toe, especially if you can walk on it without much pain.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:47 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Ditto sorta. In martial arts the common knowledge is that broken toes just get taped to the next toe. There's not much the doctors would do other than making sure it's straight. I doubt you're is that bad since it's your big toe and you're still walking about. Maybe if it's swelling or something. The blue bit is a bruise and yep blood. Sometimes when this is in the middle of the nail it creates a pressure that makes it painful. The old solution would be to drill through the nail to make a hole and relieve the pressure. Since yours seems to be at the edge... you might squeeze it a bit to force some more blood out.

If it's bothering you maybe get it checked out. I'm not sure where the week and a half falls on the get it looked at spectrum. They might drain the blue bit but probably still tell you to just take some ibuprofen and keep it clean and be gentle with it. It's a good time to wear some boots or the like that are stiff and ease the pressure on the poor toe.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:51 PM on November 8

I have had so many toe injuries. I’m embarrassed to say I’m a bit of an expert. This is fine and reasonable, toes take a long time to heal—even if you favor them and treat them well—because you still use them a ton, unless you
use a wheelchair...

Hang in there, it will most likely improve on its own, slowly.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:55 PM on November 8

I would call my doctor’s office and talk to a nurse about this.
posted by ewok_academy at 6:00 PM on November 8

I am not a doctor, but I once stubbed my big toe (playing tennis) so hard that the entire toenail turned black with blood underneath, then the entire toenail FELL OFF (I used to keep it on my desk to gross people out with [1]), then a whole new toenail grew back in. I saw a doctor not for that but for something else and he spotted the stubbed toe, and said it was spectacular but it would heal in its own time. As long as it doesn't get worse or look infecty, you're probably fine. Mine hurt for a while, but it did get better over time. Now if you looked at that (new) toenail you'd never know anything had ever happened.

[1] I work from home, so this meant my family.
posted by yhlee at 6:18 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Seconding the 'nail fell off' one - this through a motorcycle accident that did my bike no favours but this was the sole injury to me (yay protective gear). Sorted itself out and it is exactly as before, never even thought to go to a doctor.

If your insurance has a nurse line you could call them but I would bet on them just telling you to wait it out.

Do not use stabby things to pierce the nail - a fine drill bit spun gently between your fingers works if you must pierce it, but I wouldn't unless that is definitely the source of your pain. Reference: stabbed self two weeks ago, can't imagine your nail bed will thank you any more than my hand did.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 6:30 PM on November 8

Was also thinking that the nail falling off might be a possibility, with a warning that that it might take a couple weeks to do so — don’t be too alarmed if it happens. Pro tip — clay cat litter is really heavy. I do not recommend dropping boxes of it on toes. Sadly, I have done this more than once. Each time it was sore for a good couple weeks and then a while later the nail finally came off with a little of extra help from me because I’m one of those people who cannot not pick at things. The nail grows back eventually. As long as it’s not infected, you’ll be fine, in my humble not-a-doctor opinion.
posted by cgg at 7:31 PM on November 8

A subungual (under the nail) hematoma is basically a bruise under the toenail--there was some bleeding which has now stopped. They can be painful because the rigid nail prevents the blood from expanding like you would get with bleeding into skin or muscle.

If it's large or painful, it can be evacuated by a doctor with an electrocautery (urgent care is reasonable for this). I'm not sure if I should mention this, but the traditional home remedy of heating an unbent paper clip on the stove and then burning through the nail just above the blue area so that the trapped blood squirts out. It sounds horrible but is actually not at all painful and relieves the pressure. Leaving it alone is also a totally reasonable option.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:37 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Try to wear supportive footwear so that you're not walking on the side of your foot or otherwise altering your gait. That can cause other problems.
posted by kate4914 at 10:24 PM on November 8

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