Does this little piggy just need to grow out?
June 24, 2014 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Hey All, I think I know the answer to this questions already, but I thought I would throw it out there to you, a trusted audience of my peers. I cracked my toenail on the biggest toe. It looks like someone took a nibble out of it. Nothing hurts, there is no damage to the nail bed. Should I just let it grow out?

Not sure what to do. Definitely do not want to remove from nail on any size. Shouldn't take but a couple of months or so to heal, or so I am guessing. I plan on putting a piece of athletic tape over it when I wear sneakers or shoes.

What do you think? Does this tape plan seem like a good idea to keep things in place. I exercise enough that I want to make sure I have it protected

thanks in advance for your responses.
posted by Jewel98 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
IANYD, IANYPodiatrist, but: I've had great success with the "put athletic tape over it and pretend like it didn't happen until it grows out" strategy with several badly chipped/cracked toenails over the years. I usually left the tape on all the time, so you're already probably being healthier than I was.
posted by TwoStride at 8:41 PM on June 24, 2014

I have the tape on and plan wearing it all the time until the nail grows further
posted by Jewel98 at 8:43 PM on June 24, 2014

Letting it grow out is fine. Take special care to keep it clean and dry. You could use a little foot powder (it doesn't matter which kind they're all talc or corn starch) to stave off possible fungus growth. You might end up with a funky ridged toenail but probably nothing major.
posted by angerbot at 8:44 PM on June 24, 2014

Watch it as it grows a bit, though, because if it starts to grow under, you could get an ingrown toenail, which can be painful and get infected. Probably not much to worry about, but just something to keep in mind.
posted by xingcat at 8:54 PM on June 24, 2014

I cracked a fingernail as a kid, and I had to soak it in water once a day in additon to wearing a splint. Mine was worse than yours, but I would think a toe bath might help keep it free from infection.
posted by Comet Bug at 10:19 PM on June 24, 2014

I'd absolutely let it grow out. I'd almost certainly tape it -- not having seen what's up I couldn't say for sure but I can't see that it'd hurt in any way. I'd absolutely sand down any rough edges that could catch on your socks or your sheets or a towel when you're drying your foot. If any swelling or anything else turns up, I'd go with one of those triple-antibiotic ointments under a bandage, just a dab of it -- I've pretty much always worked with the tools even though I'm not in the trades anymore, and I've had about a million-billion bike wrecks, torn nails and torn and scraped and gouged skin, that antibiotic ointment under a bandage works FAST, stuff heals twice as fast.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:19 PM on June 24, 2014

A warm salt water soak and/or triple antibiotic is your friend here. Keep an eye on it for redness, tenderness, or swelling. Otherwise, you're doing fine.
posted by zug at 11:07 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm growing out a doozy of a crack right now.

I have a bandaid over it (better than athletic tape IMO because I can position the 'non-stick' bit over the crack so that when I change the bandaid, the sticky part doesn't rip or lift the nail). A few drops of liquid antiseptic every time I change the bandaid keeps infection out.
posted by girlgenius at 1:17 AM on June 25, 2014

I damaged my toenail after dropping a plywood board on it. It turned black, cracked, then broke further. One doctor was way too eager to remove it for me - "We don't really need our toenails that much," he assured me. His eagerness to do that really surprised me. It's unnecessary.

It'll take about a year before you get complete grow-out and it starts to look normal. Taping may protect it to some extent, but the bigger issue with a compromised nail is fungus - which is more likely to arise a few months from now because the bed has been partially exposed. I did two courses of oral therapy with a drug called Turbinofine (they'll have you do a liver test prior to prescribing this), and I still occasionally push some Vic's Vapo Rub under and around the nail. Really helps.
posted by cartoonella at 1:52 AM on June 25, 2014

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