A torn toenail can be really painful. Small cracks are unsightly and a hindrance to daily tasks. Deeper cracks can be even more problematic and incredibly painful. Ultimately, the only solution to a cracked toenail is to let it grow out. However, there are a few tricks you can use to maintain the length of the nail while growing out the crack. Once your nail injury has completely grown out, there are many tricks you can use to protect the nail from being injured again.
Method 1 of 3: Treatment of smaller cracks
Step 1. As a temporary solution, hold the nail together with tape
Cut a piece of clear tape the correct length. It should be just long enough to cover the crack. Place it directly on the crack and pinch the crack with your free finger. Then cut off the excess tape.
- This method works best when the crack in your toenail doesn't reach the nail bed. More immediate treatment will be required for more pronounced cracks.
- This solution is useful if you tear your toenail at work or on the go. However, it is not a long-term solution. Treat the crack at home as soon as possible or go to a professional foot care salon.
Step 2. File your nail down to the crack
If the damage to the toe nail does not reach the nail bed, you can file the nail down to the beginning of the crack. For better results, use a clean file and file the nail in the direction of the crack. If the tear is vertical, you should file in a single direction to prevent further tearing. File all the way down, just past the base of the crack, to ensure your nail stays smooth and even.
The crack can get bigger if you file a dry nail. To prevent the problem from getting worse, you can soak your nail in warm water for five to ten minutes before filing it
Step 3. Glue the crack
If the crack does not reach down into your nail bed, you can also glue it together. Apply a small amount of nail glue the length of the crack and use an orange stick to pinch the crack until the glue dries. It usually doesn't take more than two minutes.
- Once the glue has dried on the crack, you can dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and remove the excess glue from the skin around it.
- After the glue has dried, you can apply a layer of clear nail polish over it to seal the crack and visually connect it to the nail.
Step 4. Use the tea bag method
Cut a small piece of paper out of a tea bag. Apply primer or nail polish to your nail and let it dry for about thirty seconds, until it's slightly sticky. Press the tea bag on until it completely covers the crack and smooth the paper so it doesn't wrinkle or bubble.
- Cut the paper to fit the shape of the nail and use the file to edit it to visually connect it to your nail. File in the direction of your crack. Filing your crack can cause even greater damage.
- Then apply another coat of nail polish to make the paper invisible.
Step 5. Trim the torn nail if it has grown past the fingertip
Once the crack has grown the full length past your fingertip, it is safe to cut it off. Use scissors and carefully cut it off just below the crack. Then file your nail briefly, working the file only in one direction to avoid new splinters and nicks.
Method 2 of 3: repair of severe cracks
Step 1. Keep the nail clean
Wash the nail and the surrounding area regularly with warm water and mild soap, especially if the nail is cracked at the base of the nail or in the nail bed. Let the water run over the injured nail in a gentle stream to avoid further discomfort. Be careful not to use hot water, excessive force, or a towel on the nail - you want to avoid the towel getting caught in the torn nail and pulling it out.
You should also soak the nail in water for fifteen minutes every day to keep it hydrated
Step 2. Apply first aid
If the crack extends into the nail bed or is causing bleeding, inflammation, or serious pain, you should use first aid. Cover the toenail with a layer of gauze and apply pressure until the bleeding stops. As soon as the bleeding has stopped, you should apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin® to the affected area and bandage it.
Serious cracks should not be treated using the same methods as minor cracks. Because these cracks are more than a cosmetic problem, you need to treat the damaged tissue as well as the cracked nail
Step 3. Get medical attention if the bleeding or pain does not go away
If the bleeding does not stop, or gets worse after several minutes of sustained pressure, or if the area around the nail is so painful that you cannot walk, seek medical attention immediately. The skin, bones and nerves under the nail may have been affected.
Get medical treatment if the crack extends into the nail bed, if you are diabetic or have neuropathy
Step 4. Leave the nail alone
It can seem tempting to cut, pluck, or even tear your nail out. However, it is better to leave the nail alone until it outgrows the nail bed. Cover the injury with a bandage while the area is sore and apply an antibiotic cream daily.
If the fabric of your socks, carpeting, or other objects is caught in your nail, you should have your doctor cut it to a comfortable length
Step 5. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to keep the pain under control
If your toe continues to give you pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin or iburprofen to help control any pain and inflammation. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging and make sure to consult your doctor before starting any new pain treatment.
- Don't give aspirin to children or teenagers. Use acetamiophen or ibuprofen instead.
- Avoid topical pain relievers unless recommended by your doctor or your injured skin has already started healing.
Step 6. Once the crack has grown out completely, trim the nail with the crack
Once the full length of the tear has grown past the tip of your toe, you can cut the nail off. Use nail scissors to cut. File your nail smooth, making sure to file in a single direction to avoid further tearing.
- Don't try to cut the nail while you are still in pain or your nail bed is tender.
- Do not use normal nail clippers to trim the nail. They are putting too much pressure on your nail and could encourage the nail to tear deeper.
Method 3 of 3: Avoid future cracks
Step 1. Work with your doctor
Chronic cracks can be the result of an underlying medical condition, such as a fungus or vitamin deficiency. If you have chronically cracked nails, you should tell your doctor about it. They can research an underlying cause and, if necessary, prescribe medication for you.
Step 2. Moisturize your nails less often
Switching between wet and dry can make your nails particularly brittle. Reduce the number of times you wet and dry your nails by wearing waterproof footwear on rainy days or snow.
However, your nails can be more hydrated if you soak them for fifteen minutes a day, pat them dry, and then apply a moisturizer (such as an organic lotion or petroleum gel like petroleum jelly) to keep the nails moisturized
Step 3. Wet your nails daily
Apply a foot cream, nail cream, or petroleum jelly (petroleum jelly) to the nail area to keep it moist. Use the agent to protect your nails from breaks and cracks at least once a day and let it sit completely.
Keep your nails extra moist by putting some foot cream next to the sink and applying lotion to it every time you get out of the shower
Step 4. Wear nail polish less often
The process of applying and removing nail polish, nail art, and even false nails can be harsh on your nails. Keep the use of the beauty products to a minimum to allow them to grow naturally.
Step 5. Strengthen your toenails naturally
Soak your toenails in coconut oil, argan oil, or tea tree oil for about ten minutes once a week. This gives them moisture and reduces brittleness. You can also take a supplement containing biotin to strengthen your nails.