Broken Acrylic Nail Throbbing. Ouch! How to Fix It!

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Acrylic nails are known for their beauty, convenience, and durability. However, they are not invincible. Acrylics, like many types of fake nails, can be damaged and broken as you do your daily activities. If the acrylics break, you may simply need to have them repaired. 

However, when the pain comes and you have a broken acrylic nail throbbing, you’ve got greater problems. You might think that your natural nail is broken, too.

Throbbing pain can be caused by damage to your natural nail. But it can also be caused by the actual force that broke your acrylic nails. 

You can’t really be sure that you have a broken nail under acrylic without removing the acrylic nails first (unless it’s bleeding). However, that doesn’t mean that you should immediately remove your acrylic nails.

Below, we will discuss what you should do in case you feel throbbing pain with a broken acrylic nail. We’ll also discuss other causes of the throbbing pain, aside from the broken nail. 

Broken Acrylic Nail Throbbing? What’s Going On?

Blingy Nails

When you suddenly hit your nail on a hard object or when you abuse your acrylic nails, it’s possible to feel that throbbing pain. The pain can be temporary or it can just last for a couple of minutes.

Either way, the first thing you should do is to calm yourself down and don’t rush into doing things to your nail.

Deep breath, deep breath.

First, assess your nail before trying to figure out a way to fix it. Give it a few minutes after hitting that hard object so you can also calm down a bit.

When you feel pain, that pain can make you frantic. 

Sometimes, you can easily see if your natural nail is broken underneath the acrylic nails if the affected part is over the free edge, or if you can see from underneath.

On the other hand, if the damage is over the nail bed, you won’t easily see it unless it is bleeding or until you remove the acrylic nails.  

Disinfect First

Before doing anything to your nails, disinfect them first. A break in the nail or a vertical split can make them prone to developing an infection. Use soap and water, alcohol, or other disinfectants to disinfect the affected area.

It’s possible this will sting, but you need to do it.

You can also cover up the nail in the meantime, then head to your nail technician at a salon so they can fix the nail. 

If you’re easily able to get to a salon, this is your best bet when you’ve broken your nail, particularly if it’s bleeding.

The acrylic product needs to be removed from the natural nails so it can be repaired. Nail technicians can gently file this off, possibly with an electric nail file.

They should be careful in doing this so that they don’t worsen the break in the natural nails.

While filing the nail off, they would also support the nail as much as possible to prevent it from moving and being painful. 

When the acrylic has been removed, the nail technician can simply cut off the broken nail if it is over the free edge. Acrylics can be used to lengthen the nails so your nails can still match with the rest.

Alternatively, you may also choose not to lengthen the nail and just to have the others shortened to match.

If the broken nail reaches the nail bed, it can be really painful. However, that break needs to be repaired so that it doesn’t develop an infection.

All the lifted acrylic should be removed.

Once the acrylic nails have been filled off, the natural nails are exposed. You can now assess the damage and determine the next steps.

If it’s not too bad, you can replace the acrylic.

Nail glue is applied over the area to connect the broken nail. Some at-home remedies also make use of a piece of teabag then nail glue over the nails. This gives support for the nails until they grow out and can finally be cut. 

You don’t want to be messing around with things like Krazy Glue for nails, even if that’s the only thing you have at home. Nail glue is designed for use in the body. Using the wrong nail glue can lead to pain.

With the nail repaired, acrylic nails can now go over them and can be designed to match the others (or do something different!).

Acrylic nails are a good choice when repairing broken nails because they are tough and durable. Note that the longer your acrylics, the weaker they are.

Causes Of  Pain While Wearing Acrylic Nails

Nail Snag

Nails snags are perhaps the most common causes of pain while wearing your acrylic nails. The acrylic adheres directly to your nail. When you use your acrylic nails incorrectly (like when you try to grip something inappropriately) you can end up snagging the nail.

This could result in a chip, crack, or break in the nail.

Such force can be painful, and the pain could last from a few minutes to a few days! It all depends on how badly damaged the nails are.

Acrylic Has A Crack

Whether you hit something hard with your acrylic nails or accidentally snagged it on something, a crack can happen. Sometimes, the crack can only affect the acrylic and not the natural nail bed. In this case, you’ll just feel temporary pain due to the force of hitting an object.

However, it is possible that your nails underneath the acrylic were impacted as well. It may not only cause throbbing pain, but also redness, swelling, and even bleeding.

When this happens, it is best to have the acrylic nail removed so that the natural nail can heal properly before the acrylic nail is reapplied. 


With acrylic nails, there is a chance of lifting from the base. That could cause a gap between the real nail and the acrylic nail. Dirt and moisture could fill that gap. Plus, if the equipment used on the nails is unsanitary, bacteria and fungi might contaminate that space.

Uck. You’ve got an infection.

With bacterial or fungal infections, you can observe redness, pain, and a buildup of white pus on the base of the nail. Sometimes, the natural nail may develop an unnatural color or thickness. 

Allergic Reaction

Allergic reaction to acrylic nails or nail glues is a rare incidence, but it is possible. Those who have sensitive skin could have contact dermatitis, which could mean that the acrylics are too harsh for them.

With allergic reactions, there can also be pain, redness, and swelling. 

Over-Filing Of Nails

Before the acrylic nails are applied, the natural nail is filed down to make it coarser. This coarser surface makes it more likely for the acrylic base to stick to the natural nail.

However, some could file the nail down too far.

This can be irritating and could cause pain and redness. Also, as the real nails are filed down and made thinner, they will be more likely to crack or get snagged.

And did anyone use a nail drill on those nails…?


Acrylic nails can be durable, and some press-on nails are reusable. But sometimes you can still get a broken, throbbing nail underneath them, so be careful.

Throbbing pain can be felt immediately after having the broken nail and can persist unless the nail is repaired.

Disinfecting the nail is the first thing to do, and it is critical to ensuring that the situation doesn’t become worse. You can take over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol to dull the pain if it doesn’t go away on its own.

If the pain isn’t stopping, it’s best to call your nail salon and try to get in to get it fixed ASAP.

And just as a friendly reminder, be sure to take a break from acrylics every couple of months to let your nails have some breathing time.

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