A ripped nail might not be a life-threatening condition. However, it is quite painful and cosmetically unpleasant that a lot of people seek for various facts about ripped nails, including the possibility of ripped nail regrowth.
How nails rip
Your fingernails and toenails are made of protein and lay on the region of the hands and feet that can be easily wounded. There are a lot of activities and accidents that may cause injury to the nails. Stumbling on your toenails, cutting the toenails and fingernails at improper angles, tearing hangnails are some of the most common. Your nails might also be ripped due to an infection around the nail bed. One of the most frequent infection is fungal infection that turns the nail color into darker one and eventually causes torn or ripped nail plate. In more severe cases, fungal infection may cause ripped nail to be detached from its bed. When a nail is ripped, bleeding is usually minimal and will immediately stops. However, nail detachment from its bed will cause moderate pain, which may inhibit the usage of either your wounded finger or toe.
Will a ripped nail grow back?
Most nail ripping is caused by accidents to the fingers or toes, although some people with psoriasis might be more susceptible to nail tearing compared to those who do not. Both nail ripping and detachment can be painful and these heal very slowly. If you are concerned about how your nail is going to look after the trauma, you can be relieved, as your nail is going to look normal after a while.
- A ripped nail will not reattach. There is little that can be done to repair a ripped or torn nail. If you are experiencing a nail trauma that causes the ripped nail area to detach from the nail bed where it was previously attached to, it is advised not to attempt reattaching the nail to its bed using any methods, including nail glue.
- After a nail ripped from the nail bed, it will not reattach to the bed. Otherwise, a new nail is going to grow in its place, replacing the entire nail. Since a fingernail and toenail grow very slowly—one-tenth of an inch per month, this might take a quite long period. As long as your nail bed is not severely injured, the re-growing nail will be as perfect as your nail before it was ripped. It takes approximately 6 months for a fingernail and 12 months for a toenail to grow back completely after being detached from the nail bed.
- A ripped nail which is not detached from the nail bed will also not regrow on the region where the nail is ripped. Your new nail will always grow back from the cuticle, so that it is important to take care of the area where the nail is ripped, since the nail bed might be exposed due to the trauma.
What to do when a nail is ripped?
Although nail ripping is commonly accompanied by minimal bleeding, it is generally painful and thus, might cause panic. Therefore, it is important to calm yourself down and treat the ripped nail properly so that it will not cause larger nail rip that may lead to another nail bed injury. Below are some things you can do when having a nail ripped:
- Trim the nail or file any sharp edges of the ripped nail. It is important to do this, so that the ripped nail will not be easily attached to your clothing, which may lead to worse tearing.
- If the nail ripping causes the nail bed to be exposed, you can cover the ripped nail with a sterilized cotton gauze. This will protect the exposed nail bed from dirt and bacteria before the new nail grows and the ripped nail falls off.
- If because of the trauma your nail is ripped and the area around the nail is injured, it is advised to apply some antibiotic ointment to minimize the possibility of infection. Clean the wounded area and dab a thin layer of the ointment before covering it with a breathable gauze.
- If you experience bleeding with the nail ripping, soak your finger or toe in cold water to promote blood clot. This will also soften the edge of the ripped nail, so that it will not easily catch any clothing or fabric.
- If the nail bed is exposed, make sure you are using clean nail trimmer or clipper to trim the ripped nail. This is important to prevent any bacteria from infesting the exposed nail bed, so that the risk of infection can be minimized. Always replace the dressing regularly, since it may be a bacteria harbor that increases the risk of infection.