How to take care of a toenail that has fallen off

Written by marisa swanson
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Onychoptosis is the medical term for a toenail falling off. This term comes from Greek origins and literally means "Nail falling off". There are two reasons why a toenail may fall off: Injury and Fungus. Nail fungus is called onychomycosis, and usually occurs when fungus enters the nail area through a small cut or some other injury. There are various injuries that can cause a nail to fall off, stubbing a toe or jamming into a small area like a door are a couple of causes. A toenail falling off due to injury or fungus is not uncommon.

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Things you need

  • Soap
  • Lukewarm water
  • benzalkonium chloride (antiseptic)
  • doctor consultation in some cases

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  1. 1

    Look at the Toenail area.

  2. 2

    A sign of injury can be bruising of the skin, or blood clotting beneath the toenail, which is called a subungual hematoma. If this occurs a physican may need to let the blood out. A subungual hematoma is a painful bleeding under the nail and is not to be confused with a bruised nail, which is not as painful.

  3. 3

    A symptom of fungs is the nail turning yellow, white or brown. The nail may also become thick and brittle.

  1. 1

    Clean the area well with soap and lukewarm water.

  2. 2

    Keep it dry

  3. 3

    Apply an antisceptic (benzalkonium chloride) to the area once or twice daily. The new nail should grow in within a couple of months.

  4. 4

    If the nail does not grow in, consult a podiatrist (foot doctor). The doctor may prescribe a topical ointment to treat a fungal infection, or she may give you an oral medication to kill the infection. In some rare cases surgery (removal of the nail or infected area) may be necessary.

  1. 1

    In most cases a toenail falling off due to injury will grow back on its own over a period of months. During the regrowth process, try not to put pressure on the injured area.

  2. 2

    Avoid wearing pointy-toed shoes, or high heels.

  3. 3

    Keep feet dry

  4. 4

    If your nail does not grow back, or is growing back in a way that is painful or unsightly, consult a doctor.

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