Will the nail grow back after an injury?
Question: Hi I dropped a weight on my foot on Thursday. I went to the ER. My big toe and the toe next to the big toe toenails were mostly off and had to be removed. They also had to repair a laceration on my nailbed (I think that is what is called). It was really painful. I went back today to get the dressing changed that they said it looks good and to keep it dry. My questions are as follows: 1. Do you think my nail will grow back? THey said time will tell. What are the chances it grows back? 2. Right now it is really uncomfortable to walk. The doctor said it is fine to walk it will not make the injury any worse. How long will it take to heal? Can I exercise? I am a swimmer and would like to swim, but the doctor today said I should wait 10 days? Is this correct? 3. I also lift weights. Can i go to the gym and lift weights? will this be an issue? How long should I avoid this for? 4. Is there any specialist that I should go see to make sure I have the best chance of having my nail grow back? 5. Will my toes be uncomfortable for many months? To be more specific I had 2 stitches on my big toe where my nail was and 1 stitch on my the toe next to my big toe where my nail was.
Brief Answer: Things look to be moving in the right direction. Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXX ! Good morning. I am Dr Shareef answering your query. The following are the answers to your queries as I could think of : 1) They are right. If the germinal epitherlium of the nail is viable, it would grow into a nail gradually. But otherwise it might not. Time only can put some light on this issue. 2) and 3). It will definitely be uncomfortable to walk now due to the pain and the dressings over the wound. Usually it might take three weeks for a complete healing to occur and the wound to dry off externally. To get the original strength of the wound it might take months together. You can exercise where it does not involve pressure on the injured part. There is no problem if you want to lift weight, but avoid trauma to the part while doing so. Swimming is not advised now to avoid making the unhealed wound wet and predispose to infection. So wait till the wound becomes dry and healed for the swimming. 4) No. No specialist can make sure that your nail grows back. Yes, when it starts growing, you might consult a qualified chiropodist to take care of of your foot and the nail. 5) Presently I would advise you to keep your foot elevated on a pillow whenever you are taking rest, so that swelling and discomfort or pain would reduce to its maximum. It depends on the scar tissue which you develop in the process of healing to decide for how long your toes would be uncomfortable. This is a subjective phenomena and differs from person to person. However, with your kind of positive attitude what I see in you, it might not take much time for you to get used to your post traumatic healed toes. As such from the opinion of your doctor on healing, probably things are moving in the right direction. I hope this information would help you in discussing with your family physician/treating doctor in further management of your problem. Please do not hesitate to ask in case of any further doubts. Thanks for choosing health care magic to clear doubts on your health problems. Wishing you an early recovery. Dr Shareef.
Thank you for such a detailed answer. You mentioned do not swim until the wound is dry. You mentioned it will take 3 weeks to dry and heal. Just to confirm do not swim for 3 weeks?
Brief Answer: Have to have patience. Detailed Answer: Hi ! Good evening. Nice to hear from you. Regrets for the delay as I was busy in the hospital. Yes ! That is what I mean. This is because when the wound is raw, making it wet with swimming water might infect it, and also your wound could make the pool water not suitable for use by others. Therefore, it is better to take precaution than to think of the cure afterwards. Hope you understand and wait with patience. Thanks and good luck. Dr Shareef.
Thank you so much for your response. I was hoping to ask one more additional question. I was having a close look at my feet tonight and noticed I think I may have a very minor case of athlete's foot. Do you think this is something to worry about with my wounds. it is in between my toes.
Brief Answer: Care in personal hygiend of the foot is required. Detailed Answer: Hi ! Good morning. The condition you have in between your toes is usually due to wetness either due to the wet dressings, or due to not taking care to make the clefts dry after washing your feet or bathing/swimming. This causes pre-disposition to fungal infection causing the athlets's foot. I would suggest you to take all precautions to keep the area dry. If it is of a short duration following the dressings, it will go off once the dressings are removed and the area is kept dry. Otherwise, you might have to apply some anti fungal cream and possibly an oral anti fungal agent on consultation and prescription by a Dermatologist in your area. I hope you have got your query solved. In case there is no other query, you can close the discussion with rating of the answer. Otherwise you are welcomed to ask on other doubt if any. Thanks and take care.
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Questions Answered By Dr. M Y Shareef