Last night i dragged a dog bed backwards into and over my left foot. The toe nail second in from big toe was ripped completely backwards but was still attached at the roots. I quickly pushed it back down as it began to bleed then i put 2 bandaides on to protect it. Today i wore runners and when i took the bandaides off there was infection starting at the sides of the toe nail. i have applied a betadine antiseptic wipe to it and have now got it uncovered... What should i do???
Soak it in cold water twice a day to help alleviate the pain - a few Advil will help as well. Keep it dry by applying peroxide. This will help clean the infection and will keep th eopen wound dry. DO NOT run or wear shoes that allow downward pressure on the nail plate. It is better if you use the peroxide to prevent or cure infection than to use antibacterial ointment. Using an ointment or cream will keep the wound 'wet' and will not alow it to heal properly.
Since the nail plate was ripped off the nail bed, it would have taken the surface of the nail bed with it. When this happens, the 'rails' on the surface of the nail bed that allow the nail plate to be attached were ripped off. This means that there are no more rails for the nail plate to grow forward on. As your nail grows back in from under the cuticle, it will not reattach to the nail bed, so you will have to always keep this nail very short.
The nail will not fall off! It will have to grow off. Underneath the cuticle is the matrix where the nail plate cells are 'born'. As the matrix developes new cells, it will push the damaged portion toward the free edge and eventually off the distal edge. Since this was a toenail, and toenails grow much slower than fingernails, it can take no less than 6 months for most of the lifted portion to be pushed off. You will have to trim the nail as it grows forward - trimming it as far back as you can without causing yourself any pain.
DO NOT keep bandaids on it AT ALL. If you feel you must keep it bandaged, use plain gauze and tie it onto the toe using the ends of the gauze. Gauze will allow the area to remain dry and bandaids will allow moisture to build up under the nail plate. Excess moisture will prevent healing as well as allow the perfect breeding ground for bacteria or fungus to move in and turn into a full-blown infection.