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

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

However, worse than that is if there is a broken acrylic nail throbbing. That can cause you to panic because you might think that your natural nail is also broken. Throbbing pain can be caused by damage to your natural nail. But it cal also be caused by the actual force that broke your acrylic nails. 

You won’t really be sure that you have a broken nail under acrylic without removing the acrylic nails first. 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 throbbing pain. That 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.

It is best to assess your nail first 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, it can make you frantic. 

Sometimes, you could easily see if your natural nail is broken underneath the acrylic nails if the affected part is over the free edge. On the other hand, if the damage is over the nail bed, you won’t easily see it unless it is already 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.

You can also cover up the nail in the meantime then bring it to your nail technician so they can help you fix the nail. 

The acrylic product needs to be removed from the natural nails so it can be repaired. Nail technicians can gently file this off, probably with a nail drill. They are careful in doing this so that they don’t worsen the break in the natural nails.

While filing 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 shorten 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.

Some technicians would also opt to remove the entire acrylic over the nail. Others just concentrate on those that have already lifted due to the break in the nail. 

Once the acrylic nails have been filled off, the natural nails will be exposed. 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 could be finally cut. 

You probably don’t want to be using things like Krazy Glue for nails. 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 designed to match the others. Acrylic nails are preferred when repairing broken nails because they are tough and durable. 

Causes Of  Pain While Wearing Acrylic Nails?

Nail Snag

This is one common cause of having 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) 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 depending on how damaged the nails are.

Acrylic Has A Crack

Whether you hit something hard with your acrylic nails or you accidentally snagged it on something, a crack can happen. Sometimes, the crack can only affect the acrylic. In this case, you’d just feel temporary pain due to the force of hitting an object.

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

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.

That could lead to an infection. 

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

Allergic Reaction

Allergic reaction to acrylic nails is a rare incidence but it is also 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, it would be easier to crack or get snagged.


Acrylic nails can be durable, and some press-on nails are reusable. But sometimes you can still have 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, then bringing it to the nail technician for repair should follow if necessary.

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