Fingernail or Toenail Loss

All or part of your fingernail or toenail has been lost. This may or may not grow back as a normal nail. A special non-stick bandage has been put on your finger or toe tightly to prevent bleeding.


The tips of fingers and toes are full of nerves and injuries are often very painful. The following will help you decrease the pain and obtain the best outcome.

  • Keep your hand or foot elevated above your heart to relieve pain and swelling. This will require lying in bed or on a couch with the hand or leg on pillows or sitting in a recliner with the leg up. Letting your hand or leg dangle may increase swelling, slow healing and cause throbbing pain.

  • Keep your dressing dry and clean.

  • Change your bandage in 24 hours after going home.

  • After your bandage is changed, soak your hand or foot in warm soapy water for 10 to 20 minutes. Do this 3 times per day. This helps reduce pain and swelling. After soaking, apply a clean, dry bandage. Change your bandage if it is wet or dirty.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • See your caregiver as needed for problems.


  • You have increased pain, swelling, drainage, or bleeding.

  • You have a fever.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.