You may be able to relieve severe, throbbing pain by draining blood
from under your nail. This procedure is not necessary and is not recommended if
you are not having pain. This procedure is safe if done properly.
Do not do this procedure unless you are
confident you can do it without burning yourself. If you don't do it properly, you
could burn yourself and cause permanent nail damage.
Do not do this
procedure if you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or a disease that
causes problems with your immune system.
To remove blood from under a nail:
Straighten a paper clip, and heat the tip in a
flame until it is red-hot.
Place the tip of the paper clip on the
nail and let it melt through. There are no nerves in a nail, so putting a hot
paper clip on a nail should not hurt.
Do not push or apply pressure
on the paper clip. There are nerves in the skin under the nail. You could
accidentally touch the skin under the nail if pressure is applied to the
Go slowly, and reheat the clip as necessary. A thick nail may
take several tries.
As soon as the hole is complete, blood will
escape and the pain will be relieved.
Expect drainage of clear or
slightly bloody fluid for 2 to 3 days.
Soak the finger in warm,
soapy water for 10 minutes, 3 times a day for 2 to 3 days.
You may repeat the procedure using the same hole. The pain and
pressure that is immediately relieved may build back up again in a few
If your pain does not go away after you have drained the blood from
under your nail, you may have a more serious injury. Call your doctor for an
Be sure to watch for signs of infection until your nail has healed.
Signs of infection may include:
Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth
around the nail.
Red streaks extending from the nail.
Drainage of pus from the nail.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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.