Nail damage can be temporary and grow out or be a permanent condition. Our toenails often take the brunt of foot injuries. Cracked and loosened nails can be uncomfortable and catch on socks and bedsheets. Lifting off a nail exposing a nail bed is quite painful. Bruising can occur under nails, and painful blood blisters can form under them.
Nails can change shape and thickness when toes are injured. The injury can be single incident (dropping an object on the toe), or repetitive small traumas you might not even notice day to day (tight shoes, skates or cleats). These incidents are referred to as macrotrauma and microtrauma.
Permanently damaged nails can appear darker or yellow. In people with darker skin tones, melanocytes (pigment cells) can move into the nail root darkening the nail.
Thick nail before treatment
Thick nail after treatment
Dropping an object on a toenail or stubbing a nail badly are examples of macrotrauma. Some people experience nail trauma while playing sports including soccer.
Sometimes the nail will develop a bruise or there will be bleeding under the nail. If a blood blister is trapped under the nail plate, drilling a hole through the nail plate will release the pressure and reduce pain.
Damaged nails can come away from the nail bed completely; sometimes this is immediate and sometimes the nail loosens away gradually. Your Chiropodist will cut away loosened nail and monitor the nail edge and corners as it grows back.
In some cases the nail will grow back a normal thickness and appearance. Depending on the amount of damage the nail bed and root have sustained the nail could grow back thicker, darker. Sometimes it will take on a different shape or grow faster from one side than the other.
If you notice your nails are starting to gradually thicken, removing sources of trauma could allow the nails to return to normal.
If it isn't caught in time, the nails will become permanently thickened. Thickened nails are difficult to cut with home tools. We have the right tools to trim thickened damaged nails comfortably.
Nails are thinned down to improve appearance, prevent further trauma and discomfort, and to prevent pressure injury to the nail bed.