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What to Do When a Toenail Falls Off

Everyone has those days when they feel like panicking. Maybe you spilled coffee down your shirt on your way to work, or maybe you accidentally slept through an alarm. This year, March 9 is Panic Day—a day to indulge moments of this emotion instead of suppressing it, so you can help get it out of your system. Once you’re done panicking, you can think more clearly about taking care of the problem. One of those moments that upsets many people but is totally treatable when you’re calm happens when a toenail falls off.

Toenails detach and fall off for many different reasons. It could be from an advanced fungal infection. A major skin condition like psoriasis could damage the keratin. Overexposure to toxic chemicals, like acetone nail polish remover, is another culprit. Even certain illnesses or medications like chemotherapy can cause your nails to detach from your toes.

However, the most common cause is an injury. Severely stubbing the toe, dropping something heavy on the foot, or even repeatedly banging the tip of the nail separates the nail from the nail bed. Often blood collects in a bruise underneath the hard keratin first, darkening it. As the nail separates, it may grow highly uncomfortable and be more likely to catch or tear on your footwear.

Despite appearing quite serious, treating a detached nail isn’t difficult. You need to protect your toe to avoid pain and prevent infections. Here are a few ways to do that:

Never rip or tear toenails – Clip them straight across, and leave the detaching section intact.

Trim or file sharp edges – This will help prevent catching or tearing on your footwear.

Bandage the toe – Tape the partially torn nail to your toe, until it’s ready to fall off on its own.

Wear protective shoes – Wear footwear that won’t squeeze your toes, while keeping them safe.

The new nail will grow in after a couple of months. If your damaged nail is only partially detached, the new keratin will push out the old until it falls off. If your toe hurts significantly during the healing process, or you notice signs of an infection like swelling, a discharge, and redness in your skin, get help right away. Our staff at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas will be able to assist you. Just call (702) 839-2010 to make an appointment.

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