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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 890
Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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I just finished 12 weeks of Taxiteer Chemo for Breast

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I just finished 12 weeks of Taxiteer Chemo for Breast Cancer. It was removed and this was PROFYLACTIC. Essentially, I have experienced many of the side effects, hair loss, tear ducts, but the one that plagues me now is both of my big toe nails are falling off. I went to the place where I get pedicures but they did not think that putting an acrylic artificial nail directly on the nail bed was such a good idea.
I don't know what to do...for my toe nails, but it is uncomfortable without them. Right now, I have bandaids holding them on.


Thank you for writing in today.

It sounds like you experienced quite a few side effects associated with the chemo therapy. It's not unusual for the nails to become brittle and fall off during chemotherapy. As for having acrylic nails placed, I agree that this is not a good idea at this time. Acrylic nails harbor bacteria. You likely have some immune compromise due to the chemo; therefore, acrylic nails should be avoided. Chances are the tissue under your toenail is fragile and possibly open in areas. This increases infection risk. In fact, you should also avoid all acrylics and even provide your own nail equipment during chemo, if there is any immune compromise. Nail salons can be a source of bacteria. As for your big toe nails, keep the area clean and dry. You can keep a bandage on the toes. Avoid covering the nails, as with acrylics. Your toenails are likely lifting up off of the nail bed. There may be some attachment at the base of the nail. The longer you are off of the chemo, the more likely your toenails will begin to grow. You can clip what is hanging loose; however, try not to compromise what may be attached. Eventually, your toe nails should grow back in time, if there is still partial attachment at the base. In the meantime, try not to cut any live tissue or cuticles. Report all symptoms of inflammation and infection, such as redness, swelling, and pain.

I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know. This is alot of information, so if you would like me to clarify, please let me know.

Congratulations on completion of your chemo!

Ms. Lisa

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Just so I am clear as my brain seems foggy. I can put bandaids on and leave the nails there. Should I wear sandals or closed shoes. Everytime I have come to terms with some condition associated with this stuff, something else shows up.
I am still a vain female and I don't know how to address this...closed shoes or open with bandaids?


Thank you for responding. There is nothing wrong with a little vanity. It's perfectly natural to want your nails to look pretty. You should keep the nails covered with an occlusive bandage regardless of the shoes you wear. This will keep what remaining nail is attached to the bed from being torn loose. If the nail tears loose, this will cause an increased risk of infection. Now, I would recommend wearing closed toe shoes, since these would protect your nails the best. However, if you want to wear sandals or flip flops, you must be careful of your feet, and you should use an occlusive dressing to cover the toes. With your nails, the parts that are lifting from the nail bed could possibly be trimmed and filed; however, this would have to be done with care to avoid lifting the rest of the nail still attached and causing open areas of the skin. You may want to consider a visit with a podiatrist for an initial clipping and filing.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask. I'm more than happy to keep answering your questions. I want you to feel comfortable with your toe nails.

Let me know.

Ms. Lisa

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