A few weeks ago, I wore tennis shoes for the first time all summer, and because my big toe nails had not been trimmed, they got bruised by the end of the day and turned purple. A week or so later, I banged one of the toenails on a dresser which seemed to have slightly lifted it from the nail bed. It's been a week since the dresser incident and my toenail felt extra thick, so much that the top of it rubbed on my shoes and was uncomfortable. So I decided to cut down the lifting nail to hopefully avoid fungus or infection from starting (or growing). Well, that was my first mistake. Once I made the first cut, this reddish-brown watery stuff squirted out. I squeezed my toe and much more came out, so I proceeded to cut away as much of the unattached nail as I could. It came off easily and painlessly and left the top of my toe looking like "raw hamburger". I got about 3/4 of the nail off, but when I went to remove another piece, my clippers lifted a part of the nail that was still attached to the "raw" skin and for a second, I saw solid white, like bone. Could I have exposed my nail bone and if so, what should I do now? I cleaned the toe as well as possible with peroxide and currently have a large bandaid with neosporin covering it. I have a physical with my G.P. in 5 days and will ask her about it then, but I'm worried a lot about the possibility that I have exposed my bone and may cause it to get infected. HELP!
Unless you cut into the skin at least 1/4", you did not expose the underlying bone. What you are seeing is more than likely a thin layer of nail palte still attached to the nail bed. Since the nail plate grows in layers, you more than likely only cut away the lifted portion of the first 2 layers. You were right to cut away as much of th elifted plate as possible and you are also correct to apply peroxide. I do not agree with the antibacterial ointment or the bandaid. Ointment and bandaids only serve to keep th elevels of natural oil and moisture within the damaged area. Bacteria and fungus just love wet, moist conditions. Instead of doing this, keep it clean and dry with twice daily applications of peroxide. Wrap it with plain gauze only - this will allow the oils and moisture to evaporate when exposed to air.
Keep your toenails short - just past the 'smile' line.
Thanks for the response and advise. I decided I had better go to the doctor just to get it looked at and possibly some antibiotics. She (the doctor) said that I had completely removed the skin layer that used to be under my nail and had exposed the "meat" of my toe. She agreed that I had most likely exposed my bone, which confirmed what you said (I had lifted approximately 1/4" of tissue up). She actually advised that I stop using peroxide since it would damage the exposed tissues. She recommended leaving off any bandaid so that the area can scab up and heal. She said it couldn't hurt to put Neosporin on it. I left with antibiotics and a tetnus shot.
According to my doctor, it will not "scab up" with ointment on it. Ointment will keep it 'wet' and does not allow a hard scab to develop, but follow your doctors recommendations since she actually 'saw' the injury.