One of the abnormalities that can occur is the appearance of small, dark-red or brown blood vessels that resemble splinters under your nails. These visible blood vessels are known as splinter hemorrhages.
Splinter hemorrhages can develop as a result of trauma or injury to the nail. However, in instances where trauma is not involved, the appearance of blood vessels under the nail could signal the development of serious health issues.
Some medical conditions that can cause splinter hemorrhages to appear include:
- Endocarditis- An infection of the heart valves and chambers
- Vasculitis – Damage or swelling of the blood vessels
- Scleroderma- An autoimmune disease that causes hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues
- Peptic ulcer disease- A condition in which painful sores or ulcers develop in the lining of the stomach or parts of the small intestine
- Psoriasis – An inflammatory disease characterized by a buildup of excess skin cells that result in scales and red patches on the skin
- Raynaud’s disease- A rare disorder of the blood vessels that causes them to constrict excessively in response to cold
Splinter hemorrhages can also appear as a result of taking certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
If splinter hemorrhages form after receiving trauma or injury to the nails, there is usually no need to see a doctor- unless the hemorrhages do not go away on their own. (Splinter hemorrhages typically take 3-4 months to disappear). You should see a doctor immediately if splinter hemorrhages appear without trauma or injury. Your doctor will order a series of tests to isolate a possible cause.
To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please 718-206-7001.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.