12 answers

Thumb Slammed in Door - Nail Coming off - Advice

Hello Mamas!

Well, my 4 year old got her thumb slammed in a door by another child. The skin around the cuticle is all torn up and it looks like the nail will eventually die and fall off. The dr. said to keep it bandaged with ointment for the next 2 weeks and that it will take 6-8 months for the nail to grow back.

Have any of you experienced this with your kids? Is there anything I should be aware of? Any tips or suggestions to help it grow back nicely?

I know this isn't a major injury, but I haven't had to deal with it before, so any tips would be great. Or feel free to share even your uneventful recoveries!

Thank you!
A.

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Featured Answers

Hi A., once I had a student who was 5 and got the same situation. She went to the hospital and the doctor removed the nail off since it's only connected by thin skin. They stopped the bleeding and wrapped the thumb up. I don't remember for how long but when they opened it, her nail grew back! I don't think they did anything special since it's wrapped most like a cast. Therefore don't worry about it. As long as you keep it clean, it shouldn't be too bad. Anyway, good luck and you take care!

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More Answers

It will grow back just fine. The same thing happened to my son when he was not even 2. I can't even tell which finger it was without looking at pictures.

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Well, here's the thing about nails (I have a queasy weakness about nails, but am tough on other injuries):
Your doc is trying to keep the nail BED alive and healthy, so she gets a new nail back if and when she loses the broken one. It must be keep moist and clean and protected, hence the ointment and wrap. It does take MONTHS to totally replace itself. Nails are simply the body's way of discarding used cells (hair too).
My son cut off half off the outside tip of his pinkie, lengthwise, in woodshop. nothing to sew back on! so gross I could not dress wound, my husband did. I could not bear to look at it. I really have nail issues from my own childhood toenail trauma. (they are all fine now)
If you are lucky, she will grow a healthy new nail. But it may be permanently wavy or bumpy, but if she gets any nail back it is GOOD. She probably will get a new nail!
My nephew lost a fingertip in a sliding glass door, but they sewed it back on. He has nail. So does my son, But just half haha. But not noticeable, truly. Good luck!

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Ouch!!! I know how that hurts -- had a similar incident years ago, with the end and part of the fingernail on my first finger meeting up with a papercutter.

The doctor put gobs of Neosporin on it and wrapped it up and left it a week. Next week, same thing -- for several weeks until it healed. The ointment, in addition to healing, has the ability to maintain some of the pain. Those nerve endings in the fingers are very sensitive.

This procedure will not be understood by your lil' one, but 'this too shall pass.' Kids heal fast. Use colorful bandages and even let her design them. Make it a 'badge of honor.'

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My son dropped a pipe on his thumb last year. He had a blue thumbnail for about six months, then it got loose. We put a band-aid on it while it was loose. About a week later it just fell off. His new nail grew in just fine. The whole process is kind of like transitioning from baby teeth to big teeth. I'm sure your daughter will be fine.

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I shut my thumb in a car door sometime in high school and had an uneventful recovery :-). I remember it being uncomfortable for a while (the nail didn't fall off right away so there was the pressure from the swelling) and it looked rather ugly and purply for a while but it healed up fine, no complications.

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It is the new nail growing in the pushes the old nail off but it does take several months.

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Hi A.-
As a 28 year old woman, I can tell you that I have broken almost every finger and lost a number of fnger nails in my youth. It looks really disgusting and it probably will be kind of funky for the rest of her life- I had one nail drilled to release pressure and it grows with a light split in it. HOwever, with all of the finger and nail injuries, my nails still grow beautifully if I take care of them. As her skin heals, rub the cuticle with vitamin e oil or a thick lotion, like the unscented Neutrogena Norwegian formula cream. It's a small tube but it will last, plus her skin will be smoothe and crack free. She is also young enough that her body will bounce back quickly from it as I did when I was her age. My nails look great and hers will too. It is falling off because it is damaged to may way for a clean undamaged nail. While the process is unsightly, it isn't permanent. Keeping it clean and the cuticle healthy will improve the situation as a whole. Good luck with your babies!
-E.

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If your daughter's a nail biter--don't let her start biting the nail before it's grown in all the way. When my nail fell off when I was 6, I remember the day I decided it was grown in enough and I could start biting it again. It was only 3/4 of the way grown back, and it's been messed up ever since.

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