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Phone: 630-834-3668
Prairie Path Foot & Ankle Clinic

Get back to running after a damaged toenail

After an injury to your toenail, either by trauma or by repeptitive microtrauma after a race due to ill-fitting shoes, it seems like the nail will never heal.  There is often bleeding under the nail, or a sugungual hematoma, and there are different ways to treat this condition. 

If the nail has been recently damaged, there may still be active bleeding under the nail bed.  There is often purplish or reddish discoloration, In a very mild case, you may have the nail pierced and drained.  However if there is bleeding causing separation from the nail bed, in most cases it is best to have the nail avulsed, or removed.  There is really no reason at this point to have your toenail stay intact as it is no longer protecting the nailbed, but instead, it is irritating the nail bed.  Your doctor will discuss the benefits of each treatment, and decide what is best in your case.   If the nail remains, often it is no longer attached to the nail bed and any small movement may cause irritation to the nail bed and toe.  This irritation on the nail bed and toe may be increased if you try to run.  In addition, there may be spicules present after an injury that may also irritate the nail bed and cause more injury. The loosened nail that is partially attached may feel like a foreign body in your shoe, and may cause further pain, or even infection. In most cases, after a nail is removed, the sensitivity only lasts for a few days, but the relief is instantaneous.   The absence of a nail is something your feet can get used to and is short lived, because removing the damaged nail leaves a clean, free nail bed that will allow a new nail to grow unhindered.  Very often the nail bed itself is injured, and the absence of a nail will allow this to heal. 

The nail avulsion procedure is done in the office with local anesthesia and takes just minutes.  After the avulsion, you will receive instructions on post op care using Amerigel in order to heal faster and infection free. You will also receive dressing instructions, and you can expect to get back on the Prairie Path running in just a few days. 

So if you have a damaged toenail, do not hesitate to call and we can get you back to running in no time.