Do nails at risk of falling off need nurturing by a doctor, or should nature take its course?

Q: About a week ago, I fell off of a bike, and when I looked at my toenail afterward, it was attached but it had a crease near the base that looked like the nail had bent up and come back down. The whole nail was a dull light blue color and now, seven days later, the top third of the nail has returned to its regular color. It’s had a tiny amount of discharge from the base of the nail every day, which is a clear, slightly reddish color, and it feels a little loose and has been tingly. Can you tell me if you think it will fall off? Should I see a doctor? So far, I’ve been keeping a Band-Aid on it and changing and washing it daily.

A: This orthopedic podiatrist located in Chicago’s West Loop (60661,) Roscoe Village (60618,) Elmhurst (60126) and Bartlett (60103) says…
There’s a good chance your toenail may fall off. At this point, there’s nothing you can do except protect the area under the toenail. If the nail is long, you should gently trim it so it doesn’t bump against the inside of your shoes. Otherwise, use clingy gauze and apply a little antibiotic ointment.
As for the Band-Aids – stop using them, as they will trap in moisture around the nail. Be sure to avoid a lot of tapping and be sure to let the site breathe — it will take several months for a new toenail to grow.
Even if the nail is going to fall off, you ideally want the old nail to be pushed off by the new toenail as it grows in. If the area seems infected – if it appears red, warm, painful, swollen and there’s continued discharge – or if the tingling doesn’t stop within a few days, go see a podiatrist – we have four on staff at Ankle N Foot Center locations across the city and in Elmhurst and Bartlett who would be happy to help you. For more information about our locations, hours and services, just visit thinkfeet.com!
I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Ankle N Foot Center docs & staff

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