Nail Trauma and What to Do…

How many times have I said that its the smallest things that tend to cause the most pain? Well if you havent heard it before or read previous blogs, Ill give you another example of such a thing. Your toenails. Yes, you read it correctly, your toenails. Its hard to imagine that dead skin, for that is all they are, can cause pain. When you rip or tear one off I assure you that pain will be felt, unless you have some pathological process that has disrupted your pain sensation.

How many times have you stubbed your toe or pulled off your sock, looked down only to notice that some portion if not your entire toenail has been torn off? When this happens are you sure you know what you should do to treat it? If not, then I encourage you to keep reading.

What to do?

1. Decide to either scream out in pain with the occasional obscenity OR bite your lip/finger and cry silently. Neither one is right or wrong. I encourage you to be creative.

2. Clean your toe

a. Nails are considered to be inherently dirty. This is not saying you yourself are dirty so please dont take offense.

b. Wash the toe with warm, soapy water

3. Inspect your toe

a. If the nail has been fully avulsed (torn off), inspect the nail bed for any sign of laceration.

b. The same goes for if the part of the nail has been avulsed.

c. If the nail is intact but loose, trim the loose portion off and inspect the nail.

i. A loose portion of nail can snag and cause further injury and pain

ii. When trimming be careful to ONLY trim that which is loose from the underlying nail bed. Use clean instrumentation.

If you are not comfortable doing this then I would suggest wrapping your toe in a bandage and making an appointment with your local Podiatrist to let them tend to it.

4. Wash your toe again. The solution to pollution is dilution.

5. Apply a tiny amount of topical triple antibiotic. Too much will make the tissue too moist.

6. Apply some form of non-adherent dressing. Avoid tight fitting shoe

7. Schedule an appointment with your local Podiatrist and let them examine your toe.

8. Treat yourself to Ice Cream!

If you have any need of a foot/ankle specialist, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit

Category: Nail Problems

Tags: toe, Trauma