At one point in time in our lives, we all have had a dead toenail. The natural color of a healthy toenail is usually white or pink but due to one or more reasons, one can have a dead or black toenail. I can’t deny the fact that no one would be comfortable walking in the public with a dead discolored toenail as this could signalize some underlying health issues. It could turn to be your biggest source of embarrassment. While seeing a doctor isn’t necessary when you have a dead toenail, it is good to know certain things at your fingertips. Dead toenails are a common problem across the globe but it is surprising how millions of people have no clue on how best to handle the situation. It is in order if you know the root cause of your dead toenail and how to remove it without causing further infections or trauma to your toenail. One adorable aspect of dead toenail it that it can be removed at home. However, a visit to a doctor visit may be worth considering if there is an underlying health complication such as an infection. Care should be taken when handling a dead toenail as it can lead to bleeding or localized infection. If you are reading this you will thank me later, we are going to talk about everything that touches on the dead toenail.
What Causes Dead Toenail?
There are many causes of a dead or black toenail but before we dig deeper into other causes, it is best if we start with the most common one or rather the usual one. When growing up, we also had a black toenail at one point and the cause was pretty common – trauma. The best example we can all relate to was when one kicked a ball not knowing there was a stone beneath. Alternatively, a heavy object such as a stone or brick could have fallen on your toenail, partially or completely destroying it. When such trauma happens, your nail will be deformed or detached from your toenail and later turn to black. Well, even though this is the most common cause of dead or black toenail, here are other possible causes :
1. Fungal Infection
This is another probable cause of a dead toenail. Toenail fungus is one creepy infection, which when left untreated, can lead to severe health complications. A fungal infection can cause your nails to slowly turn from white to black due to debris buildup. Onychomycosis is the general term for fungal infections that interfere with the health of a nail. Apart from causing a nail to turn black, fungal infections can also cause a nail to curl or lift from the nail bed. This usually causes a lot of pain. It is advisable to start treatment immediately you notice any signs of a fungal infection. Treating toenail fungus is pretty simple and inexpensive, most home remedies get rid of the infection.
2. Ill-fitting Shoe
Ever ordered a sports shoe online or bought one in the nearby outlet only to realize it is smaller than you anticipated. Well, the truth is, you may be attempted to wear even when it is too tight on your toenails, especially if it is the kind you so much love. It is for this reason that I am here to warn you of the danger of such ill-fitting shoes. Because of their small size, such shoes will put constant pressure on your toenails. This pressing will not only interfere with normal aeration but also prevent proper nail growth. When this continues for sometimes, your nail will turn black. Remember the tight, warm and moist condition sums up the favorite environment for the growth of fungus.
This is one of the worst skin cancer diseases. When one has Melanoma, misshapen dark spots can be seen on the skin. If such spots occur underneath the nail bed, this can cause dead toenail.
It is also possible that a blister can develop beneath the nail. When such occurs, a blister will cause the nail to detach from the nail bed. Eventually, this will lead to a dead toenail.
5. Other Underlying Medical Conditions
Even though such cases are rare, there is prove people with immunity-weakening diseases such as diabetes and anemia can cause black toenail.
How Can I Tell Whether I Have Dead Toenail – Symptoms?
There are several causes of the dead toenail and each begins with own unique symptoms. For the case of trauma, it is pretty simple to see early signs of a black toenail. After the trauma, the area around the nail will definitely be blooded. With time, the nail will start turning black. If you happen to have a fungus infection, your nails will begin to change slowly from the normal pink or white color to yellowish.
On the other hand, if you experience moderate to severe pain, that could be an indication of an underlying infection. It is also possible that you may notice some discharge coming from underneath your nail bed. In most cases, this will be accompanied by bad odor.
Overall, the above signs could signalize an infection or serious injury, which if not treated early can lead to a black or dead toenail. It is advisable to seek early medical attention before the condition gets worse.
Treatment of Dead Toenail
When we talk about a dead toenail it means it is already dead and doesn’t require any treatment. Furthermore, all our nails are made of a protein called keratin and are all pretty dead. In other words, if you happen to have a dead toenail, you don’t need any special medical attention unless there is an underlying infection. However, note that for cases of severe injury or trauma, it is highly advisable to see your GP. The best medicine for a dead toenail is removal which must be carried out with caution.
How to Remove Dead Toenail
I know removing a dead toenail can be a great challenge for some of us given the associated pain and fear of messing your toenails. If you are not sure on how to go about removing the dead toenail, it is advisable to see your doctor who will remove it painlessly. However, note that removing a dead toenail that has been loose for long and is not causing any pain doesn’t require a doctor. If the dead or black toenail can’t fall off by itself, this guide outlines safe procedures for removing a dead toenail. Remember, an improperly removed dead toenail can lead to severe injury or bleeding increasing the chances of localized infections.
First of all, the method you use to remove a dead toenail will depend on the initial condition of the toenail. For instance, if a pus-filled blister has formed underneath the nail, this must be dealt with first before continuing with dead toenail removal. Clean the area around the nail first and wear clean gloves. Remember this will be painful, especially if the nail has already detached from the nail bed. Use a sterilized needle and drain the blister. Use a gauze bandage to cover the area so as to prevent infections. Once the toenail has recovered, proceed with the following steps to safely remove the dead toenail :
What Next After Dead Toenail Removal – Aftercare?
After the successful removal of the dead toenail, you should monitor the healing of your toenail. Ensure to maintain the highest hygiene standards to prevent future reinfections. Check whether there is any swelling or pus-filled blisters. If there is any, do not try anything on your own. Instead, consult your PG.
Additionally, keep the area open and well aerated to speed up the healing process. If possible, do not wear any closed shoes within the first couple of weeks until your toenail has healed. Do not also forget to change the gauze bandage often to avoid harboring dirt. This can lead to an infection and slow the healing process. Avoid too much movement as this can increase the possibility of having an injury. Keep the leg elevated so as to speed up healing.
Most importantly, check to see whether there is persistent inflammation or oozing. This could mean there is an underlying infection. In such cases, consult with your podiatrist so as to seek the best treatment. He or she may prescribe a stronger prescription to help dry the affected area and speed up healing. Even though this is rare, one may have an underlying problem such as advanced fungal infection. This may make it impossible to heal normally.
Will My Dead Toenail Grow Back After Removal?
I know this is a major concern for most people with a dead toenail. Well, the good news is, you can have a new fully-grown toenail even after removal of the dead one. However, note that this will take a while. On average, it takes between 5 months to 1 year to have a fully grown toenail. You should maintain the highest standard of toe hygiene to minimize chances of getting any infection. Some people resort to using nail-strengthening products, even though this is optional. If you avoid wearing ill-fitting shoes and strenuous sporting activities, you toenail should be able to grow back without any medical intervention.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Under normal circumstances, removal of a dead toenail doesn’t require a doctor. However, there are certain situations where a doctor’s visit will be considered. If you have underlying medical conditions such as anemia, diabetes or melanoma, you should see a dermatologist to help with treatment.
Additionally, if you experience complications such as frequent bleeding, pus-filled blisters, and unbearable pain after dead toenail removal, consult with your PG for further guidance. Certain toenail complications, if left untreated, can cause permanent nail damage. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to see a doctor if you notice serious medical conditions. If you notice that the growing toenail is black. It could be an indication that there is an underlying problem.
If you have read this article to the end, removing a dead toenail shouldn’t be a bother to you. Do not waste any more time looking for a PG not unless you have other underlying complications. If you follow the above-mentioned guidelines, you should be able to remove dead toenail without any trouble. Also, note that toenail fungus can be treated using several home remedies if it is the underlying problem. Hygiene is key to quick healing after dead toenail removal. All the best.