How many times have you injured one of your fingers? No matter how careful we are, we seem to always “put our fingers in harm’s way.” Many injuries to the hand can be prevented by wearing gloves. As medical providers we should always encourage our patients to wear gloves when working in the yard, helping friends or family to move, and especially to those who work in construction or landscaping. The reality is we should all wear gloves much more often than we do to protect our fingers and hands from injury.
A subungual hematoma forms underneath a fingernail or toenail from a crush injury to a digit. Typically it occurs when one hits a finger with a hammer. Sub means under. Ungual refers to the nail. Hemat refers to blood. An oma is a tumor. Therefore a subungual hematoma is a small collection of blood beneath a nail. The pressure caused by this small hematoma can be unusually intense. The treatment is to drain it. This is easily done in the office setting. A small hole can be made through the nail directly over the hematoma with an 18 guage needle or even an electrocautery tool. The blood is quickly evacuated and the pain is immediately relieved. Your patient will be immediately happy and thankful!