November 3, 2015

Ripped My Big Toenail Off This Morning: This is How I Treated It

I told myself last week after tripping on it that I should move that board sitting in the courtyard. I didn't. So this morning, I went out barefoot to check on some veggies and stubbed my toe on it. The pain was ungodly, and when I looked down, I saw that I had ripped the toenail off my my left big toe, and it was bleeding profusely.

Treating the Injured Nail

 I hobbled back into the house, went to the bathroom and wrapped my bleeding toe in layers and layers of tissue paper. My first thought was to stop the pain, so I went to the freezer and grabbed a bag of frozen corn, since I had no ice pack. Frozen veggies make great ice packs in a pinch, by the way. I sat on the bed with my legs elevated, bent my left leg at the knee so my foot was sitting flat, and plopped that bag of frozen corn on it. I then reached over the the nightstand and pulled out my ibuprofen and took 4 of them. I knew it was going to hurt for at least a day, and I'm a baby when it comes to pain, so I thought it best to nip that in the bud. After the pain had subsided enough for me to hobble around a bit more, I got my foot soaking pan, ran some warm, soapy water into it and soaked my foot for a good 15-20 minutes. This was actually quite soothing. The nail was only semi-attached by a thin strip, so I went ahead and pulled the rest of it off, which wasn't very painful since it was mostly ripped off anyway. I tried to clean the clotted blood off the top of the nail bed, but it hurt too much, so I just let my foot dry as well as I could, covered the raw nail bed with antibiotic ointment and covered it with it gauze bandage held on with adhesive tape.

Not the First Time This Has Happened

 If you have read my other blogs, you will recall that when I first moved to Gainesville in 2013, I had old shoes that didn't fit right. Walking up and down the ramp to the truck caused a few of my nail beds to be damaged and turn black. My right big toenail separated almost completely from the nail bed, and eventually did fall off, so I'm not really a stranger to this injury. This one is worse, though, and I'm hoping that my nail matrix (the part that generates the new nail) is not so damaged that it can't produce a new nail. Plus, there is the damaged nail bed. I had previously ripped off the corner of this nail, and the nail bed did not heal correctly, so one corner of my nail is not even attached to the nail bed. If the nail bed is damaged too badly, even if the matrix can grow a new nail, it may not attach itself. I may end up one of those people who has no big toenail. I'm praying that doesn't happen, and I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure it doesn't, but you never know with these things.

Lesson Learned

I've learned my lesson. No more crap lying around the courtyard that can hurt me, and ALWAYS wear some kind of shoe outdoors. I love going barefoot, but I have a pair of garden clogs I can leave right by the door, and I'm going to do that from now on. WHEN I can get my foot back into them, that is. Right now, I can only wear flip-flops, because it hurts to put any pressue on this toe at all. Which reminds me that I need a new pair of flip flops, which I will have to order online, since there are none in the stores this time of year.

Life is just crazy sometimes! I'll keep you apprised of the healing of my nail by updating this post periodically, so subscribe to the blog or bookmark it to keep up.

UPDATE 11/4/15
I thought it would be hard sleeping last night, but it really wasn't so bad. I put a sock on my foot so it wouldn't catch on anything, and I slept really well. I took naproxen before bed, so that may have had something to do with it. It feels a lot better today. I can actually put pressure on it without pain, so I'm going to try putting on my flip flops and walking a bit to see how it does. Of course, I'll warp it up first so it doesn't look so weird and to keep dirt out. I'm almost afraid to try to take the bandage off, because the gauze stuck to the sore yesterday and was very painful to remove. I'll have my soaking pan ready.