Care of detached toenail and when to return to basketball


Q: I hurt my toe playing basketball. I think I just stubbed it really bad – it was/is fairly painful but I’m pretty sure it isn’t broken – and the nail is largely detached from the nail bed. I’m wondering when it would be safe to return to basketball. Is it just when the pain subsides or do I need to wait for anything with the nail? Is there a way to protect the nail/nailbed as it regrows?

Symptoms:  Pain in first toe of left foot; Nail hasn't fallen off but looks like it is largely detached; nailbed is purple/discolored;

A:   Thank you for your question. We recommend that you have this injured toe nail evaluated by your doctor before returning to basketball. It is possible that the detached portion of the toenail can become infected if it is not cleaned and dressed properly. It will take several weeks to heal. During this time, the actual detached nail may fall off leaving room for the regrowth of a new toe nail. Please have your doctor examine and dress this nail. Depending on this evaluation, you will be given an appropriate timeline as to whether you can return to playing basketball.

Thank you for consulting

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