If you suffer trauma to your big toe, there’s a decent chance that the nail bed will dislodge or become damaged to the point that it eventually falls off on its own. The absence of a nail isn’t as painful as one might imagine, but you also need to pay attention to the area as the nail bed recovers. Bacteria can more easily enter your body without the protective nail covering in place, and if the nail grows back incorrectly, you can develop an ingrown toenail. In today’s blog, we share some tips for preventing ingrown toenails after your nail detaches.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails From Regrowing
The main reason why ingrown toenails can become a little more common after you lose your toenail is because of how the nail bed functions. The nail exerts some downward pressure on the skin under and around it, and when that pressure is no longer there, this skin can rise up ever so slightly. If it expands and the nail bed starts growing into the skin instead of over the top of it as it regrows, you can go right from a lost toenail to an ingrown toenail, which isn’t a fun situation.
If you want to help prevent ingrown toenails from coming back as your nail bed regrows, keep these tips in mind.
Massage – As your nail begins to grow back, take a couple minutes twice a day to lightly massage the skin ahead of where the nail is growing. This can help mold the skin and prevent it from puffing up, which will allow the nail to grow back over it more easily.
Soak – If you’re concerned that the nail bed might not make it over an area of skin, get in the habit of regularly soaking the foot and then massaging or depressing the area. Nail beds grow quite slowly, but if the skin it’s growing over is softer, the nail will have an easier time staying on top of it instead of growing into it.
Comfortable and Open Shoes – You’ll want to avoid shoes that put excess pressure on your toe bed, because this can shift how the nail bed grows back. We understand that you may want to go with tight closed toe shoes to offer the empty toenail bed some added protection, but breathable tape or a bandage can provide this protection without putting abnormal stress on the toe bed. Try to go barefoot when safe to help the nail bed grow back properly.
Taping – If you’re concerned about a particular patch of skin, you can try to slightly pull it in one direction with adhesive tape. Even just slightly moving the skin can give it enough clearance for the nail to go above it, so consider using regular adhesive tape if you’re worried about a particular patch of skin.
Talk To A Specialist – Finally, if you’re finding it difficult to help the nail bed grow back as you’d like, or you’re concerned about another issue with your toe or foot, reach out to Dr. Silverman or a foot specialist in your area.