34 answers

Lost Fingernail

So this whole situation makes me feel a bit guilty-
About a month ago, my daughter's finger was shut in the door at my brother's house- Daddy didn't know our LO was following him up the stairs and inside and shut the door (hard) on her finger.
There was much crying and a little blood (maybe a large drop when all was said and done) and we didn't think much of it. A couple days later the tip of her finger bruised and then cleared up, and after a week the nail bed looked bruised- at the time the nail was still intact. My mom took a look at it and said it looked fine.
I paid attention to it for another week or so, the color started to fade, and she didn't seem to be bothered by it, so it left my mind completely.
We went to paint our nails tonight, and I discovered she is missing nearly her entire nail! I just checked on several web-sites (including Web-MD) and they all say that any time there is damage to a fingernail that involves any bleeding or bruising that it is time for an ER visit, and that w/o medical treatment her nail will grow back deformed if at all!
I feel awful, and know her dad will feel worse (he works nights and doesn't know yet) We are one of those families that don't necesarily avoid doctors, but don't feel the need to call the doc very often- low grade fevers, minor falls, and fingers slammed in doors don't seem like emergencies, just part of growing up...
I guess I don't really have a question, just needed to share and hope that I'm not a bad mom.

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So i guess I should clarify that the reason i'm feeling guilty is that I have no idea how long she's been missing her nail.....

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Just last month my 8 yr old son ran over his finger with a skateboard and ripped off the whole nail. We didn't take him to the ER or the doctor. It is now about halfway grown back and it looks completely normal. You're not a bad mom!!!! :)

Two of my children have experienced blows to fingers that have caused the loss of nails. My oldest lost her nail completely and a whole new one grew back just fine. My 3rd child had two of his fingers closed in a door and lost half the nail on both the fingers and his nails grew back just fine as well. I see no problem in leaving things as they are if things are healing nicely and there is no pain in that area for her. Good luck!

Have a GREAT day!


You are NOT a bad mom. I agree that every little thing does not warrent a trip to the doctor. And, it is likely that her nail will grow in just fine. Sounds like, although she lost the nail, the damage wasn't too great. I lost a thumb nail about a year and a half ago, and it grew sorta wavey at first, but eventually grew back normally. Same with my husband, who has lost several fingernails over the years when he worked as a mechanic. Good luck. AND again, you are NOT a bad mom!!

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I lost a nail as a child too--shut the finger in the door just like your daughter. There's a little discoloration under the nail, and a little more of the white tip than on my other nails. While it looks different than the other nails, I would not call it deformed. The only people who have ever noticed it are manicurists.

I think your response was entirely appropriate. Your daughter was not in a life threatening situation. Remember that medical personnel and medical websites will usually present a worst case scenario in order to prepare you and cover their butts, but that doesn't mean the worst case will happen here. I think you did great. Watch as the nail grows back, spend time with her talking about how her amazing body works (how cool is it that our nails can fall off and grow back to help us heal?), help her paint her nails if she's self-concious, and if she's not, don't bring it up. It might be bothering you more than it is her, especially if she hasn't pointed it out to you.

you are not a bad mom!!!!! My son had the same thing happen. I took him to the doctor and all they did was split it, so I bet your doc would have done even less as it seems that my son was a bit more sore/bruised.

His nail did come off, he nursed that for as long as he could and sucked on it constantly(much to my chagrin)but the nail grew back and now I can't even tell which nail it was. Your daughter will be fine.

I don't think you are a bad mom!
I wouldn't have thought that a smashed finger would need a trip to a doctor either, not unless there was a lot of blood or a severe gash or something.
But from what you described I probably would have done ice on the finger and some ice cream to cheer her up.
I am so sorry this has happened to your little one.
I hope that her nail does grows back and completely normal, and thank you for sharing, now I know what to do if this ever happens to mine!
Don't worry, you are fine and normal.
Good luck to you!

Between hiking, skiing, marathon training and not watching my hands I've lost count of how many times I've lost nails. For me, they always grow back. No harm done.


I wouldn't worry too much. My mom accidentally shut my thumb in a car door when I was 11. It did the same thing....I was old enough to remember the events. Long story short.....my nail came completely off also, and grew back completely normal in a couple of months.

Don't stress or beat yourselves up too bad. Things like this DO happen & ARE a part of growing up.

:) Angi

I think every parent injures a child at some point or another, and usually it is completely accidental. I have seen lots of friends and family sustain injuries like this. Although she may never get the nail back or it could be slightly odd looking, it is not serious. This does not make you a bad mother even remotely in my opinion. Like I said I think things like this happen a lot. All of the kids in my family have lost a nail. they all look kinda deformed but there is not real injury. Stop worrying!! :) One thing I would suggest is to take care of it as it grows in and allow it to, try not to let her play with it. I lost one of mine when I was a teenager and I messed with it so much that it is deformed, but it would not be if I had left it alone.

My son lost his nail in a folding chair when he was 2. It was 'pulled' out *yuck*. Anyway, it grew back thicker but NOT deformed. He is now 11 and can't tell at all.

To try to set your mind at ease...
I broke my thumb last August (trying to close the cardoor quietly as not to wake baby). Slammed the car door right on the tip! I did go to the doctor since it was broken, but they just pierced it to relieve pressure and put it in a splint...they didn't say anything about how to care for it so the nail comes in normal ~ just that I would probably lose the whole nail.
I did lose my thumbnail, but it grew back pretty quickly and is not deformed at all.
You're not a bad Mom, he's not a bad Daddy...accidents happen ~ that's why they're called accidents and not 'on-purposes'!

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