What is the function of our fingernails? Most of us think that fingernails are useless. However, these portions of our skin actually come with a purpose. Fingernails are used in order to grip on things more easily. The nails are also present in order to strengthen the ends of the fingers as well as provide protection. As we all know, the tip of our fingers are always placed under pressure. This means that without our nails, the tip of our finger bones will be the one to absorb all the stress, which can lead to injury. Aside from these, the nails also aid in the general sensitivity of the fingertips. Unfortunately, our fingernails could also experience different kinds of injuries and/or trauma. Because of this, our fingernails could die and eventually detach from our fingers. But is losing a fingernail painful?
Understanding Fingernail Injury
What is fingernail injury? Fingernail injury is described as the injury that occurs to the fingernail or the skin that supports it. In some cases, fingernail injury can lead to the loss of the entire fingernail completely. However, most fingernail injuries can result to the growth of a new nail approximately not more than 3 months. There are actually a lot of symptoms that can be experienced following a fingernail injury. These include finger swelling, laceration, finger tenderness, subungal hematoma, tearing of the fingernail, loss of the fingernail, presence of blood under the fingernail and of course, the presence of pain.
Why is there Pain in Losing a Fingernail?
Pain is evident in most fingernail injuries or detachment since the nail is attached to the outer surface of the skin. As we all know, our skin is composed of many nerve endings in order to provide tactile sensation. However, once these nerve endings become irritated due to occurrences like losing a fingernail, pain impulses could be produced, which is the reason why pain or discomfort is usually present. The pain response is considered to be a method of the body in order to detect whether there is something wrong with the system. This pain response could occur at any part of the body where injury or discomfort is present. However, pain is also recognized as a matter of perception. Some people can stand pain for a very long duration without taking any pain relievers. Nevertheless, some people also have low tolerance to pain. So whenever someone experiences losing a fingernail and he or she perceives this situation to be very painful, then pain could also become a lot stronger. However, there are also some that do not consider this condition to be painful. In other words, our bodies can react differently to similar stimuli and our reaction could also depend on how we perceive or look at things.
In addition to these, the method involved in losing the fingernail also affects the severity of the pain it can produce. If the nail is ripped out very fast, then the nerve endings will immediately send a huge signal at once, which can be blocked and can cause no pain at all. However, pain will eventually set in after a few seconds or minutes from the said injury. Once the nail is ripped out very slowly but the fibers holding the nail in place are breaking because of the pull, then intense pain can be felt immediately. This is the body’s way in telling that something is wrong with our body (in this case, our nail), which should be stopped right away. Although the nail will eventually grow back after only a few months; this process can still depend on how severely the roots of the nail are damaged. In some conditions, only half of the nail can grow back normally.
Treating Fingernail Injury
The treatment for fingernail injury actually depends on its severity. Some of the most common interventions for injuries on the fingernail are wound cleansing, wound irrigation, surgical repair, pain medications, tetanus vaccinations and as well as the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines or NSAIDs for pain. Other severe conditions could also resort to having fingernail surgery in order to repair the damaged tissue. Nevertheless, before providing any management to the injury, it is important for us to provide first a complete assessment or physical examination of the condition or situation. Some of the physical findings that can be assessed with this type of injury include nail avulsion, partial or total loss of the nail, growth plate injury, nailbed laceration, crushing injury, fracture to the bone in the fingertip, pooling of blood under the fingernail and skin cut underneath the nail
Tests to Reveal Nail Injury
There are several ways in order for us to assess the type as well as the extent of our fingernail injury. One of these methods is through the hand or finger X-rays. X-rays can actually provide good visualization of the area which can show the severity of the injury as well as provide an idea as to what interventions or management is needed or required in order to cure or treat the condition or problem.
These are just some of the facts that we need to know with regards to fingernail injury as well as the possibility of experiencing pain in losing the nail.