ZocdocAnswersShould I try to remove a dead toenail?

Question

Should I try to remove a dead toenail?

I'm a 24 y o guy and a few days ago I stubbed my toenail VERY hard on a room threshold. The nail immediately felt like it was broken loose from the nail bed but still attached with the tissue. Now it's peeling up a little. Should I try to pull it off completely? It doesn't seem good to have it on there rotting.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you stubbed your toenail! Although nail injuries like this can be very painful the good news is that they tend to heal well without any further complications. I would not be inclined to remove the nail, especially as it sounds like it has just separated from the end of the nail bed a bit at one end. If the nail is really loose and flapping around, then you can just the loose parts off with a pair of scissors, but if it is firmly attached, as it sounds like it is, then it is better to leave it in place. This is because you may accidentally cause a cut or infection if you try to trim it away, and you will also expose the sensitive nail bed to irritation by the environment. Generally, as the new nail grows in it will displace the old nail over a period of weeks to months, and there will be no need to worry about it further! One exception to this would be if there is a great deal of blood building up behind the nail and causing pain. If so, this might be an indication to remove the nail to relieve the pressure; your primary care doctor or podiatrist should be able to help you with this.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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