Learn about toenail trauma and how we can help.
Have you recently damaged your toenail and unsure what to do?
causes of toenail trauma
Nail trauma can occur through several causes, and it is essential to be aware of potential risks. Common causes include:
- Accidental impact: Someone stepping on your toenail, stubbing your toenail, dropping a heavy object on your toenail, or striking them against a solid surface can result in nail trauma.
- Repetitive stress: Engaging in activities that involve constant pressure on the toenails such as running, soccer, or hiking can lead to nail injuries over time.
- Footwear: Wearing tight fitting shoes can result in rubbing which can lead to nail changes.
- Cosmetic nail enhancements: Improper removal of cosmetic nail enhancements, like acrylic or hard gel polish, can damage your toenail.
- Bacterial or fungal toenail infections.
Types of nail trauma
Nail trauma can manifest in different forms, each requiring specific care. Here are some common types:
This occurs when blood collects beneath the nail. It is characterized by a painful, dark blue or black discoloration of the nail.
Nail bed laceration
A deep cut or tear in the skin beneath the nail is known as a nail bed laceration. It can cause pain, bleeding, and potential damage to the nail matrix.
This happens when the nail separates from the nail bed. It can be the result of severe trauma or forcefully pulling or tearing the nail.
When the nail breaks or cracks due to trauma, it can be quite painful. Fractures can occur horizontally or vertically and may involve a partial or complete separation of the nail.
When to see a Podiatrist
If you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, or notice signs of infection, such as pus, redness, or swelling around the injured nail, it is crucial to consult a podiatrist. Additionally, if the nail has partially or completely detached from the nail bed, or you suspect a deep laceration or fracture, it is advisable to seek professional evaluation and treatment.
Our podiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat nail conditions of all types, and can provide specialized care to ensure proper healing and prevent complications. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek professional help when dealing with significant nail trauma.
Patients with medical conditions such as neuropathy, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or compromised immune systems should also seek treatment if they suspect nail trauma.
If you suspect nail trauma it’s highly advisable you avoid drilling, lifting, or trimming your toenail. Home treatments can further damage the nail bed and to lead to further complications
Nail trauma complications
Nail trauma can cause significant changes to the structure of the affected nail. Common changes observed in the nail structure include:
- Nail thickening: Damage to the nail’s growth centre can lead to the production of a thicker nail in response.
- Nail loosening or detachment: In certain cases, the entire nail, or a portion may become loose or fall off. This is known as nail avulsion.
- Retronychia: This refers to the abnormal growth of the nail underneath the skin fold, which can cause pain and discomfort.
- Nail splitting or ridging: Nail trauma can cause the development of splits or ridges on the surface of the nail, affecting its smooth appearance.
- Permanent nail changes: In some instances, the damage to the nail’s growth area can result in permanent changes. This means for some patients, their toenail may never grow back to its original shape.
we are here to help you
It is important to seek appropriate podiatric attention for nail trauma to prevent or minimize structural changes and promote proper healing and nail regrowth.
* Can be claimed on private health insurance with podiatry cover. Additional fees occur if local anaesthetic is required.
The Foot Hub - Alexandria
205/35 Doody St
The Foot Hub - Sydenham
1/286 Unwins Bridge Rd