Toenails act as a tough, protective layer guarding your toes, so it can be rather alarming to lose one. The good news is that unless you have a severe injury or develop an infection, toenails grow back. However, making sure that your toenail grows back properly and preventing further injury to your foot are necessary steps you should take. Read this guide to learn more about what you should do if your toenail falls off or is in the process of falling off.
Caring for the Toe Bed
If your toenail has recently fallen out, or is beginning to let go, you should prepare yourself to cleanse and care for the toe bed. This is the part of your toe that the nail grows out of. When the toenail releases, the toe bed and cuticle may bleed. Use an antiseptic and clean the area and apply gentle pressure using a clean cotton pad to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding doesn't stop, see a doctor immediately. If a scab develops, leave it alone and apply a bandage over it to prevent it from being snagged and torn off by a sock or shoe.
Protecting the Toe
Once the toe bed is taken care of, the rest of your toe will need additional protection since the toenail is missing. Any further impacts to the toe could potentially cut into your skin or even risk fracturing a bone.
While you wait for your toenail to grow back, be extra careful with your footing to prevent hitting your foot on a hard surface, like table legs. Wear shoes that have ample space for your toes, and if you'd like, you can wear bandages during the entire process to cushion your toe.
Shoes, socks, and feet are a hotbed of germs and bacteria, so be especially careful about maintaining your hygiene. Wash your feet after taking your shoes and socks off, and visually inspect your toes to make sure there aren't any cuts or new injuries. If you see any signs of inflammation or infection, get to a doctor or podiatrist immediately.
In addition, take steps to make sure that your feet don't become overly sweaty. Germs thrive in moisture, so wear ventilated shoes and make sure your socks are made out of fabric that breathes, like cotton.
It's a good idea to visit a podiatrist like Collier Podiatry PA to monitor the growth of your new toenail and make sure that your foot isn't severely injured. With a podiatrist visit and all of these tips, your foot will be back to normal soon.