Splinter Hemorrhage: Symptoms & Signs

Splinter hemorrhages are tiny spots of blood seen underneath the fingernails or toenails. They are caused when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the nail bed rupture or burst. The name comes from the fact that the dark reddish-brown spot of blood often resembles a streak that looks like a splinter. The main cause of splinter hemorrhages is trauma or injury, but nail diseases or other diseases or conditions that affect the blood vessels can also cause them. Sometime taking certain medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), warfarin (Coumadin), tetracycline, or ganciclovir (Cytovene), can cause splinter hemorrhages.

Other causes of splinter hemorrhage

  • Certain Medications
  • Trauma or Injury


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Medically Reviewed on 10/16/2019
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.