Home > Blog > Toenail Falling Off—Knowing When to Say Goodbye

Nail PolishIt is one thing when the nail polish you used for your special Valentine’s Day pedicure starts to chip and wear off, but quite another if your whole nail starts to come away. You may be attached to your toenails—they are certainly attached to you!—but sometimes things happen and you know it is time to say goodbye. A toenail falling off may not be the end of the world, but it can be very painful until a new one takes its place.

The first thing is to realize that this relationship is finished. Don’t try to hang on to the old nail; once it has detached from the nail bed, it won’t get back together again. Whether you dropped something heavy on it or you repeatedly stubbed your toe against the front of poor-fitting shoes, the only thing you can do is gently let the damaged nail go.

Home care includes filing any rough or sharp edges so they can’t catch on something and pull on the nail. If you feel up to it, you can try cutting away the loose portion and applying antibiotic cream and a bandage. It is important to hold the nail in place to avoid further damage to the nail bed.

A detached nail from an injury can be extremely painful, with bleeding underneath and possibly swollen tissue around it. First aid includes putting pressure on the toenail for 5 minutes at a time until the bleeding stops. If the blood causes painful pressure, you may need to come in and let us drain the blister—or even remove the nail if necessary—and bandage it to keep infection out.

If it is time to say goodbye to your toenail, Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic can help make the breakup less painful. Call our Collingwood office at (705) 444-9929, or schedule an appointment on our website. We will give your feet the tender care they need at this time—and all the time.

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