My Daughter's Fingernail Is Falling Off

Updated on June 22, 2010
B.C. asks from Arlington, TX
5 answers

My 2 1/2 year old smashed her finger not too long ago and now the bottom half of it is half-peeled off. It's bleeding and I can tell it's really bothering her. Poor thing! What, if anything should I do? It doesn't seem like something that needs a doctor, but it looks gross. Not infected or anything though. She won't keep a bandaid on it either. She's sitting next to me screaming about wanting her bandaid off right now.

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answers from Portland on

My husb loses at least one of his big toenails every year after his big annual trek into the wilderness. Repeated pressure on the toes during long descents takes a toll. We just keep the nails trimmed as much as possible during the gradual release so they don't snag on socks and pull off painfully. Takes them a year to come back to normal, and then he goes off on another hike…

Your daughter's nail will probably be fine, eventually, but getting rid of the damaged part is hardest. Keep snaggy edges trimmed as short as possible. I agree that covering it would probably help – I wonder if she'd help you pick out some "special" band aids?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I would try to trim the nail back as far as possible since the loose edge catching on the band-aid will make it hurt more.

I suspect your daughter is curious about what is happening under the band-aid, why it hurts so bad and will it ever be the same? She is also at the age where she wants some control over her enviroment. I would take the band-aid off as long as she is willing to sit still and inspect it with you there. Explain the band-aid will help keep the wound clean and when she wants to go play, you have to replace the band-aid. Let her choose the next band-aid from a variety of shapes and characters. Once she realizes she has some control over it, she'll probably calm down about keeping it covered.

Try to turn her anxiety into curiosity. Treat it as a facinating science lesson. Show her how amazing her body is and how it can heal itself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I pulled a fingernail off by bumping an acrylic nail. It was SOOO painful. It throbbed forever. I did go to a doctor, who said that it was imporant to protect the nail bed to ensure new nail growth. There was a possibility they would stitch the nail back on to protect the nail bed (which my fiance had to have done for the same issue, except his was from hitting his nail with a wrench). I did not need a stitch, and my nail did eventually grow back despite the fact that it was torn out at the cuticle. But I did keep it wrapped for a long time. I found that the stretchy, flesh colored bandage made by 3M (bought at Walmart) worked best because it had no adhesive. It just wrapped around the finger, and clings to itself, so it worked perfectly just to protect the area.

I know these kinds of things happen everyday, and in the grand scheme, it's probably not a huge deal, but personally, I don't think it would be a bad idea just to let a doctor look at it to make sure it's not infected, and to get recommendations for how to treat it.

Hope your little one's ok! It hurts!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

While it's bleeding and painful, it should be kept bandaged. Maybe she'll like a pretty or a character bandaid better that a plain one. In a few days she probably won't need one any more. The nail will grow back eventually. When I was in collage I dropped a lock on my big toe. Hurt like nothing I'd ever felt before. A huge blood blister developed under the nail, and the nail eventually fell off. But it grew completely back in about 6 weeks.



answers from Chicago on

My sister smashed the door on my ring finger when I was about 8. The nail did fall off. It took a while of healing but the nail did eventually harden. I kept a bandaid on it though while I was out and about--school, playing etc. And I totally agree it looked gross, misshapen and such. Any chance of making the band-aid "magical" and put on loosely, not tight? Put on some neosporin and then some kind of funny band aid just at least until it stops bleeding and hardens a bit--about a day. You really want to try to keep it covered until it starts to heal--or maybe a glove? Of course, who wants to wear a glove in the summer. Hmm, maybe a finger puppet. Might work. I wish my 2 yr old would leave the bandaids alone.

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