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Dr.Amita, Doctor
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 2127
Experience:  MD.Extensive knowledge of medicine.
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I woke up to terrible, throbbing pain in my thumb, under my

Customer Question

I woke up to terrible, throbbing pain in my thumb, under my nail. I didn't smash it or anything, and there's no bruising or anything under the nail, but my thumb is slightly swollen. I couldn't put pressure or even brush against it without it killing me. I took a shower, and the hot water felt really good on it. Towards the end of the day I could touch it. If I pinch the pad of my thumb the throbbing goes away. It is still killing me though. What's going on with it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr.Amita replied 1 year ago.


I am Dr.Amita and I would be assisting you with your concerns today.

Expert:  Dr.Amita replied 1 year ago.

Do you have any swelling or tenderness along the edge of the nail?

Any history of diabetes?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No swelling around the nail, but a little tenderness on the top. The pain is the worst in the middle of the nail. No history of diabetes.
Expert:  Dr.Amita replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for replying.

Couple of possibilities.

One more common possibility is an infection known as paronychia but paronychia usually causes swelling and pain around the corners of nail.

Other less common possibility is that of subungual glomus tumor which is a small tumor in the nail bed.It can be exquisitely tender and can cause throbbing type of pain.

It would be advisable to have this seen by a doctor right away as an infection would need treatment with antibiotics.If infection is not treated in time , it can develop into an abscess which may require drainage.

You may take an analgesic like advil for pain relief and try to keep your hand elevated as this will decrease pain.

This is my initial answer.Reply for any clarifications.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I elevate my hand above my head the pain and pressure go away completely.
Expert:  Dr.Amita replied 1 year ago.

Yes that is characteristic of hand disorders including injuries and infections.That is why I advised you to elevate the hand.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
you think it's an infection then?
Expert:  Dr.Amita replied 1 year ago.

Greater likelihood considering that pain is of acute onset, gets better with elevation and is anyway much more common compared to other possibility.

Definitive diagnosis requires examination in person by a doctor.