couple hiking in summerIt's the end of the summer and you're itching to get in some hikes before the weather turns. Perhaps during your last few hikes you've noticed your toenails have been hitting the front of shoes when you hike down. Maybe you've felt pain or your toenails are starting to look sketchy.

Instead of doing something about it, you go on that terrific new hike and your toenail loses its grip.

Now what do you do?

What You'll See and Feel

Perhaps your toenail came off completely. That can happen. But more likely it's only partially detached. Either way you'll experience bleeding (subungual hematoma) which causes pain. That's because the pressure from the build-up of blood needs to be released and instead it's pushing on your toe.

What To Do About Toenail Loss on the Trail

If you're out on the trail, hopefully you've brought some salt with you.  Combining the salt and water and soaking your toe in it can be soothing as it draws out some of the blood. Salt water also has anti-septic properties which can prevent infection.

If you have a topical antibiotic such as Bactroban or Neosporin, apply after the soak and cover with a bandage.

What To Do About Toenail Loss When You Get Home

Remove as much of the nail with a toenail clipper as soon as possible so that the underlying nail bed can start to heal. Continue soaking using Epsom salts in warm water for ten minutes a day.

If your pain increases, you see red streaks going up your toe or pus, it's time to see a Seattle podiatrist. These are signs of infection.

Other Hiking Related Blogs

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.


Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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