Minor fingernail and toenail problems are common. At one time or
another, almost everyone has caught a nail on something, causing it to rip, or
has smashed a finger in a door, leaving blood under the nail. These kinds of
injuries can be quite painful but are usually not serious. You can often
relieve pain and prevent infection of minor nail problems at home.
Normally, fingernails grow about one-tenth of a millimeter each day.
Toenails grow at about one-half or one-third the rate of the fingernails. Aging
and diseases that decrease blood flow to the hands and feet may slow nail
Common nail changes include:
Nail problems can also be caused
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you
should see a doctor.
Symptoms of infection may
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
Pain in adults and older children
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
Home treatment can help relieve
pain, prevent infection, and promote healing. To relieve pain from an injury to
the nail, try the following:
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
October 7, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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