Fitness
Moderators: melkor


What to Expect When You're Expecting... to Lose a Toenail


Quote  |  Reply

Hi, sorry if this topic has been addressed before, but I did a cursory search of the forum and didn't quite find the answer to my question.

So my big toenail started to lift off a little while ago although only on one side.  (right foot, left side of nail)  It recently finally cracked at the bottom (again left side only) so the whole left side can kind of flap in the breeze if you let it while the right half is still attached.  I've never lost a toenail and am not sure what to expect or what to do with my half-off/half-on status.  Do I expect it to be painful if it drops off?  Should I keep running?  Will running be painful?  Right now I've got it tied down with a big band-aid.  Should I try to keep it that way for months until the rest grows in behind it?  Let it fall off?  Do I need to do anything special to take care of it (like preventing infection)?

It may be a dumb question, but I'd appreciate the advice.  Thanks!

10 Replies (last)

I think your first concern would be why is the toenail lifting? Could point to some nutritional deficits. But other than that, I would go to a registered foot care Nurse to have the nail reduced.

In that way, nicks and breaks in the skin will likely not occur. As well, the recommendation would probably be just observe for signs and symptoms of infection (redness, heat, purulent drainage, fever, etc.), otherwise no worries.

Original Post by tinab24:

Hi, sorry if this topic has been addressed before, but I did a cursory search of the forum and didn't quite find the answer to my question.

So my big toenail started to lift off a little while ago although only on one side.  (right foot, left side of nail)  It recently finally cracked at the bottom (again left side only) so the whole left side can kind of flap in the breeze if you let it while the right half is still attached.  I've never lost a toenail and am not sure what to expect or what to do with my half-off/half-on status.  Do I expect it to be painful if it drops off?  Should I keep running?  Will running be painful?  Right now I've got it tied down with a big band-aid.  Should I try to keep it that way for months until the rest grows in behind it?  Let it fall off?  Do I need to do anything special to take care of it (like preventing infection)?

It may be a dumb question, but I'd appreciate the advice.  Thanks!

Your title is hillarious!

Are you losing it from running?  I just recently read an entire article on why people lose toenails, some where because of the shoes being too tight, not long enough...etc.  You might want to look into why you are losing it, if its from running and not an injury. 

I have a dr's check-up coming up soon anyway so I'm planning to rule out nutritional deficiencies with her.  I have been doing a lot more running and kind of over-did it on a six hour mountain climb in ill fitting shoes (the downhill was murder).   It was after this that the nail finally cracked and separated a little futher.  Overall, I'm mostly chalking it up to the shoes and downhills, but for now what's done is done.  What should I do with the funky foot I have now?

I'm sure it was the shoes.  I lost both big toenails once walking two miles in a pair of too-tight boots (boy, were they cute, though). 

Not much you can do but wait for the nail to fall off, I'm afraid, unless you get it surgically removed.  I'd let it flap freely as much as possible but tape it up if it's uncomfortable when you're wearing shoes and even in bed if it starts snagging on the sheets.   It shouldn't hurt much--unless it snags or your shoes are too tight.  And don't fiddle with it:  you may damage the nail bed or introduce infection.

 

 

If it is due to running (that is a very important "if"), just keep it taped down and intact as long as you can while a the new nail grows in underneath. Jam cotton underneath the edge of the new nail if it seems to be "digging in." The smaller toenails take a few months to grow in. The big toenail can take up to a year, if much damage was done to the root.

The situation seems suspect though, as it isn't the normal chain of events for a healthy nail that gets damaged by running. The nails don't normally split lengthwise. From your description, it sounds as if there was already a problem before the big six hour run. What caused the problem originally?

 

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

oldguysrule - I have no idea what first caused the problem.  I had noticed that it had lifted on that side before the big hike, but it didn't crack until then.  It did split 'width-wise' at the bottom where new nail had already been growing in behind the part that was sort of 'bubbled'.  So no split along the length, that's just where it stops being lifted.  Honestly, I have no idea what I did to it.  As it turns out... I really hate feet :)  Guess I'll need to start paying more attention to them.

Original Post by tinab24:

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

oldguysrule - I have no idea what first caused the problem.  I had noticed that it had lifted on that side before the big hike, but it didn't crack until then.  It did split 'width-wise' at the bottom where new nail had already been growing in behind the part that was sort of 'bubbled'.  So no split along the length, that's just where it stops being lifted.  Honestly, I have no idea what I did to it.  As it turns out... I really hate feet :)  Guess I'll need to start paying more attention to them.

Maybe the "widthwise split" is just the bottom of the old nail, and not actually a break or split. The new nail generally grows in underneath the old one (if you keep the old one intact and in place) but not always.

As the old one get pushed off, keep trimming it really short so that the top edge doesn't get caught on anything. Using an emory board on the top/front edge of nails (living or dead ones) keeps them from catching on your sock.

Hmm I hadn't thought of that.  Thanks!

One last question, I don't need to worry about running/lifting, do I?  I assume not, but thought I would ask.  Will lifting/running increase the chances of it becoming ingrown... or something?

Further exercise doesn't change things if you can keep what remains of the old nail down (I tape them down with athlete's tape). If the old nail has fallen off, and the nail bed isn't inflamed or infected, then exercise doesn't hurt the new one coming in. If it is getting ingrown at the front or side edge, jam cotton underneath that edge, and keep it moist (to keep the nail flexible).

The highest chance of infection is when/if the old nail gets torn off prematurely. The cuticle often gets torn in that process. Use an antibiotic ointment, and protect the wound during that time.

 

#10  
Quote  |  Reply
I had the same thing just happen to me. Same toe, same foot, exactly how you said. I don't know why or how it happened. I walk a lot. Like 6 miles a day or so. I eat right. I'm pretty healthy. I have never lost a toenail or had this happen ever. I have never had any fungus or anything like that ever. I'm very healthy. What happened with your toenail? You probably have a new one and normal by now? What should I expect or do? Have any advice?
10 Replies
Recent Blog Post
After many unsuccessful attempts, Kafination took a good look at herself and realized that enough is enough. Despite multiple stressors, she made herself a warrior and battled through a long, hard journey, which was worth every minute. She is now 150 pounds lighter, with a new outlook on life and trying things she'd never thought of doing before.  

Continue reading...