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What should you do if you injure your toenail?

Anyone who has injured their toenails or fingernails by accidentally slamming them in a door can tell you that it is one of the most painful experiences that many people will ever endure. If you have been unfortunate enough to have sustained this type of injury, the first step you should take is to see a doctor immediately to determine if there is damage to the bones of your toes or fingers. Although the nails serve to protect your tips of your toes and the bones underneath, if you have sustained an injury substantial enough to cause pain there is a good chance that the nails did not provide adequate protection, and damage to the bones in the forms of breaks or fractures is present. This type of damage needs professional attention immediately, and can cause future issues if not appropriately cared for. “Toughing it out” can only lead to problems.

If you have sustained a blow to your toenails or fingernails, there is a good chance you will lose the nail, and it will need to grow back. You will probably notice that you are losing a nail if it is beginning to turn black or pool blood underneath. There are no topical treatments that can save a nail damaged to this degree, and you will simply have to allow your body to heal itself through shedding the damaged nail and re-growing a new one. In most cases, the nail will grow back as long as there has not been significant damage to the nail bed itself, and in some cases only a portion of the nail will die and fall off while the rest continues to grow as if no damage was done.

There are many “old wives tales” as far as how to deal with a smashed nail, just like there are many treatments for toenail fungus, and the majority of them are not suggested to be handled by anyone except a licensed doctor in a medical facility. Probably the most popular home treatment is the relieving of pressure pain as blood pools underneath a damaged nail by heating a needle and burning a small hole in the nail. Although the process is much the same in a doctor’s office, this should not be undertaken at home because the possibility of doing further damage and causing additional injury is high. Additionally, the possibility for infection is very high due to the inability to sterilize adequately outside of a medical facility. Quite simply, the best advice is to allow a doctor to treat you and avoid the tendency to “do it yourself.”

One question that is frequently asked is if the nail will grow back shaped exactly as it was pervious to the injury. Each case is different, and the answer usually depends on the amount of damage to the nail as well as the placement of the injury. Many times the nail will grow back flatter or with a bump on it. Changes in shape can be regarded as normal in the case of damaged nails being re-grown, but any change in shape that happens without an injury should be a potential cause for concern as it may signify an underlying medical issue.

When researching on what steps to take if you have damaged your toenails or fingernails, the best advice is always to seek immediate medical help and avoid the tendency to administer assistance yourself, even if it doesn’t seem like it was a major injury. Anything that causes enough pain to make you take notice should be treated seriously, and many larger problems can be avoided if you seek treatment immediately instead of waiting.


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