Don’t Panic! Treating a Detached Toenail

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Detached toenailWhen things that are supposed to remain attached suddenly fall off, it can cause a bit of panic. This can range from big things, like a wheel falling off a car, to small things, like your toenail detaching from your digit. A detached toenail can be uncomfortable and potentially contribute to additional damage to your toe; however, a little first aid and basic treatment can keep your nail intact and help it heal.

Toenails detach for your nail bed for a number of reasons. Repetitive injuries can cause it to slowly separate. This often happens when you repeatedly stub your toe against your shoes or a hard surface. Suddenly injuring your digit can cause a separation as well. Sometimes infections can be the culprit. Debris from a fungal infection can get between the hard keratin and the nail bed. Autoimmune diseases that affect the nails, like psoriasis, can detach the keratin as well.

Once the nail starts to pull away from your toe, you do risk it catching and tearing away, which can be quite uncomfortable and increase your odds for infections. That’s why treating a detached toenail is important. Now, if a fungal infection or a problem like psoriasis are damaging your hard keratin, you’ll need to address those problems first. But if you’ve simply injured your toe, you can use basic home care to treat the problem.

Trim sharp edges that may catch on your footwear, then use tape or a bandage to cover the nail and keep it attached to your toe. Keep your toe clean and check it periodically for infection. The new, healthy nail should grow in underneath the detached portion. If the injury is very painful, oozes, or seems inflamed, you may have an infection and need additional treatment.

A detached toenail is uncomfortable and can increase your risk for infections, but it doesn’t have to cause panic. You can easily take care of it at home. If you’re concerned it may tear off or be a problem, however, let our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. take care of it for you. You can reach our Parker, Castle Pines, and Cherry Creek offices for an appointment through our website. You can also call (303) 805-5156.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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