We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Causes of Toenail Bleeding?

By Nya Bruce
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Injuries to the toenail and bacterial endocarditis are typically the two major causes of bleeding toenails. Depending on which is actually causing the bleeding to occur, it may or may not be a reason for concern. To ensure that the true nature of toenail bleeding is accurately diagnosed, the toenail in question should be examined by a physician.

Toenail bleeding is often a result of some form of trauma to the nail bed and is called a subungal hematoma. Trauma to the toe can be a result of hitting the foot against a hard object or it may occur when some type of heavy object is dropped onto the toe. Subungal hematomas may also occur when the feet are kept in tight or ill-fitting shoes. In this case the repetitive rubbing of the toenail against the shoe's material may result in bleeding.

When a subungal hematoma causes toenail bleeding, losing the nail becomes a possibility. This may happen if the injury damages over half of the nail. The resulting excess blood may give the toenail a blackened or a purplish appearance. If the amount of blood is significant enough, it may produce enough pressure to push up against the nail bed and dislodge it. If this occurs and the nail falls off it will typically grow back within six months.

A splinter hemorrhage is another type of bleeding that occurs beneath the toenail. This type of bleeding will typically give the impression that there are splinters beneath the plate of the nail. The blood “splinters” are a brown or red color and generally run the length of the nail. There are two potential causes for this type of toenail bleeding, one of which is a foot injury and the other being a condition known as endocarditis.

Bacterial endocarditis is a type of bacterial infection that will generally affect people with weakened hearts more than those with no prior cardiac problems. It is caused by bacteria that enters the bloodstream and it affects the lining and valves of the heart. These bacteria are often found naturally in the body and may be introduced into the blood stream through certain procedures or types of surgery. When bacterial endocarditis is the cause of the splinter hemorrhage, the splintering will usually occurs during later stages of the condition. Lack of foot trauma is also an indication that this type of toenail bleeding may be caused by endocarditis.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By SarahGen — On Jun 05, 2013

@alisha-- An infection, a vitamin deficiency or a hormonal problem could cause brittle nails that split and bleed.

As far as I know, protein, biotin, vitamin A, vitamin E and iron are all necessary for health nails. So someone who doesn't get enough of these can have problems with their toenails.

Hormones can be the cause too, especially the thyroid hormones. My sister, for example, had hypothyroidism for a while and her nails had become very dry and brittle then. They would easily split and break. Sometimes it would split at the wrong place and bleed.

By discographer — On Jun 04, 2013

Why would toenails become brittle, split and bleed?

By turquoise — On Jun 04, 2013

My mom lost a toenail once because she slammed it on the foot of the table. Her toenail was bleeding and then it became swollen and purple. After a few days, the toenail it fell out. It was very scary and she had throbbing pain for days on end. Thankfully, the nail grew back out but it took months for it to look normal again.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.