A very common and under-treated form of trauma is that to the toenail itself. Trauma to the nail occurs from a variety of mechanisms, with sports, kicking furniture and doors opening across toes being common causes. Obviously going bare foot or wearing open toe shoes are big risk factors.
While painful, most toenail injuries will not result in grave consequences. However they can result in more severe infections of the toe or bones within the toe. For this reason it is important to seek medical attention if you have sustained a nail injury. It is especially important if you are diabetic.
Frequently, when a nail is injured, the nail lifts off the toe. As it raises the edge of the nail can cut into the nail bed underlying the nail. These cuts, or lacerations, are usually underneath of the nail and can easily be overlooked. If enough of the nail has been loosened, bacteria can get trapped under the nail and this can lead to an infection underneath of the nail. If there is a cut, this can get infected as well.
Occasionally, there are fractures of the bones underlying the nail as well. When these fractures are associated with a laceration under the nail bed, then the bone is exposed and this is called an open fracture. In these cases, medical treatment is essential to avoid possible infection of the bone and even potential loss of the toe!
At Mid-South Foot and Ankle Specialists we have vast experience in treating uncomplicated and complicated injuries to the toenail. At the very least we will be able to address your pain and get you back into life. At most, we may be able to prevent complications that could lead to severe infection. If you think you have suffered a nail injury, please feel free to contact Mid-South Foot and Ankle Specialist at 1-309-7700 to make an appointment today.