Red Toenail Bed

Red Toenail Bed – A red toenail bed is usual caused by downward pressure onto the toenail causing bleeding. Learn how to start taking care of it!


Red Toenail Bed


Causes of Red Under The Toenail:

The most common medical name for redness under the toenail is a subungual hematoma.  Subunugual means under the toenail, and a hematoma is a buildup of blood. This can result due to constant friction and buildup of pressure against the nail; causing the blood vessels of the nail bed to rupture.The blood then pools underneath the nail plate which can result in a severe throbbing pain. Don’t be alarmed if there is no pain and or if this has shown up without


Most common in Runners or Joggers:

This injury is frequently encountered in people who have recently started jogging and undertaking new activities like zumba or exercise class. They usually buy new shoes and start new exercise and a week later: BOOM – Red Toenail Bed.

Here are some of the reasons why you may have a red toenail bed:

  • Shoes that are too tight in width.
  • Shoes that are too tight in length.
  • No free room between the toenail and the front of the shoe.
  • Toenails are not trimmed to proper length.
  • Morton’s foot – short 1st toe puts pressure on the 2nd toe.


Red Toenail Bed


Diagnosis of Red Under The Toenail:


  • It can look black, red or even brown.
  • It can be painful or not hurt at all.
  • If it does hurt, the pain is a throbbing type.
  • It can be small or take up the entire nail.
  • There can be a large traumatic incident before the spot appears.
  • There can be a history of new shoes being worn.
  • There can be a history of new exercise or job being started recently.
  • Running or jogging.
  • Slamming toe or fingernail.


Consider 4 Other Causes to Black Toenails:


Home Treatment of Red Under The Toenail:

If you are feeling extreme throbbing try the 5 following things:

1)Ice The Toenail!

The first step should be to start decreasing the pain and inflammation underneath the nail bed. The more you ice the toenail, the less blood should build up in the toe. This helps from both a pain and a healing perspective in the long run.

Red Toenail Bed

  • This will help decrease the immediate pain.
  • This will also help decrease the healing time over the next few days.
  • It will increase the odds of your toenail not falling off.


2)Protect the toenail.

Using bandaids ACE bandages or Coban can help decrease further irritation to the site. This will help you from having it fall off and hopefully decrease the pressure. It the toe becomes numb though, take the dressing off! If you have decreased sensation, don’t do this either.


Taping a bruised or black toenail.
Protect the toenail from further irritation and pain.


  • Wrap it to stop the Toe From Swelling.
  • Don’t make it too tight.
  • You still want to feel the toe.

3)Anti-inflammatory medication.

Check with your foot doctor (podiatrist) or pharmacist before taking any medication. Make sure you are healthy enough first. But these will greatly increase your healing time and decrease the pain you feel.

Red Toenail Bed

  • Decreases the pain.
  • Increases the healing time.
  • Increases chances of keeping the nail.


4)If it is still hurting- go see a podiatrist to have the blood drained.

The podiatrist can drill through your toenail and drain the blood out the bottom if the pain is still hurting. This is considered the ultimate treatment!


5)Prevention is the best medicine!

Get to a podiatrist for a good foot measuring. Most people never look into increasing their shoe size, but you need to realize that your feet do grow over time. They essentially flatten out like a pancake rather than just having bone growth.

Red Toenail Bed

  • Get your shoes fitted properly.
  • Try a Brannock Device
  • Measure the arch length, foot length and the foot width.
  • Cut your toenails properly.
  • Don’t leave the toenails too long.


6)The Toenail will grow back!

  • Nails grow at 1mm per month.
  • So if your black spot is 4 mm away from the edge, it will be gone in 4 months!
About the author

The Modern Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist Doctor):Today's podiatrist is required to undergo rigorous medical training that licenses them as physicians with equivalent legal standing to the MD and DO degree (These are physician recognized licenses most common only in the USA). Although admittedly the training does differ between the three degrees. The differences are listed below.In Michigan Podiatrists are trained and authorized to perform surgery in the foot and ankle up to the tibial tubercle below the knee.All our podiatrists and foot doctors have undergone rigorous training including a 4 undergraduate college degree, writing the medical school entrance exam (MCAT), followed by a 4 year medical school degree (DPM - Doctor of Podiatric Medicine),Once podiatrists in the USA complete the rigorous 4 year medical school courses, they are required to complete a minimum of 3 years of a surgical and non-surgical residency program. Some podiatrists and foot doctors then choose to go on to further fellowship training specializing in various forms of specialty such as diabetic surgery or reconstructive foot and ankle surgery.The training is not over yet! Each podiatrist must be judged by a governing body where they submit their surgical cases and are reviewed regularly to ensure excellent results. This is a career long evaluation with board qualifications and certifications every few years.So have faith that today's podiatrist is your best choice for your foot and ankle problems! We are able to approach you foot and ankle problems from a non-surgery perspective, but that when necessary we can provide you with the treatment that you need!All articles written by this account are considered to be for educational purposes only. It is impossible for us to truly assess your condition and the advice we give here is meant to give you a basis to then follow up with your podiatrist and foot doctor later.If you have any questions at all, or there is anything that we can help you with, please feel free to contact our office or email us. Podiatrists provide medically necessary treatment which should be covered by valid insurance plans, we are not a cosmetic or elective medical specialty.