I am beginning to experience a pain just underneath the nail of my 3rd finger, it's my exam in 2 days. I have no idea how I managed to do this, but its making it very difficult to play the piano.

The pain is mainly at the end of the nail part, underneath it.

Does anyone know a way to help it heal before the exam? I've had this once before and it lasted a few days, I'm very worried about my performance being affected by it.

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    Please go see a doctor. It is unlikely that you will find a person with the medical knowledge to help you on this forum. – Neil Meyer Mar 8 '16 at 11:57
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    I suspect that this is off topic as it is about a medical issue. – Neil Meyer Mar 8 '16 at 11:58

One possibility:

Examine under the nail with a very strong magnifying glass. I once managed to get a very short section of hair lodged under the end of a nail. This happened after I had a haircut. It is surprisingly uncomfortable if it irritates the nailbed.

In my case, removing the tiny bit of hair cured the problem almost immediately.


You could for temporary only relief put something like Voltaren Emugel on the finger before the concert. Prescription in the US. Other things like Bengay or Tiger Balm would work but are more oily and not as easy to clean. Topicals like Voltaren can be useful as opposed to tablets (aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.) as they are less stressful on the stomach.

However, going over the nail with a magnifying glass is good too; getting someone else with a better angle can help.

  • This is dangerous territory. I suspect the OP has an infection of the finger nail. We have no idea what would happen if you put Voltaren on it. – Neil Meyer Mar 8 '16 at 12:11
  • Generic pain relief like aspirin/paracetemol/ibuprofen should be safe though. Not to cure it, but to alleviate pain for the performance... assuming it's not an actual injury which could be worsened by continuing to play, which sounds rather unlikely. – Mr. Boy Mar 8 '16 at 12:22

If I can give any advice it probably is to go see a doctor. I suspect what you have is the following. I often get it when I grow my nails out to play finger picking with.

Paronychia Paronychia is an infection of the tissues surrounding a fingernail or toenail. In most instances, the finger is infected by Staphylococcus aureus, a common staph bacteria, or by the fungus Candida. Infections may progress to full-blown, painful abscesses. If an infection persists without treatment, there is risk of more serious infection and permanent damage to the nail.

Usually, I just cut the nail very short and that takes the pressure off and gives it time to heal but please don't take my advice as dogma.


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