Toenail Falling Off

Toenail Falling Off

The toenail falling off is simply a separation from the nail bed. The nail is initially discolored, followed by loosening and pain. Learn how to grow it back!

Causes of a Toenail Falling Off:

From most common to least common:


1)Traumatic Injury:

Toenail Falling Off
Dropping something onto your big toenail or stubbing it!


  • Always preceded by hitting your toe or dropping something on it!
  • Pain.
  • Red or black under the nail bed.
  • Bleeding out the end of the nail.
  • Loose nail.


2)Constant Rubbing:

Toenail Falling Off
Tight shoes after a long run can cause bleeding under the toenails.
  • Long jogging, possible tight shoes.
  • Pain may not always be there.
  • Red or black under the nail bed.
  • Bleeding out the end of the nail.
  • Loose nail.


3)Fungal Infection:

  • Thick and flaky toenail.
  • Dry looking toenail.
  • Yellow or green  discoloration.
  • Usually no pain.
  • Usually no swelling.
  • Usually poor blood flow and/or diabetes.
  • Possible odor.


Toenail Falling Off
Toenail fungus leads to a distinct dry, crumbling yellow toenail appearance.

Fungal infections are a special case that needs added consideration:

Follow our Complete Guide To Toenail Fungus Treatment!




Will A Toenail Falling Off Grow Back?

  • In almost all cases except toenail fungus the nail will grow back by itself!
  • The nail grows back at approximately 1 millimeter per month.
  • This growth is very slow and it is very tough to make it grow back faster!



Home Treatment of a Toenail Falling Off:


Toenail Falling Off

If you have fungal toenails as described above, then skip straight to our fungus guide:

Follow our Complete Guide To Toenail Fungus Treatment!



If you have suffered a traumatic injury or constant chronic rubbing, continue reading!

Step 1: Understand the Injury!

Toenail Falling Off
Example: This toenail is only loosened by about 1 millimeter, thus it will be back to normal in 1 month. If the entire nail was loose, it could be 6-9 months!
  • Accept that the nail just needs to grow back!
  • It grows at 1mm per month; this means 6-9 months if the entire toenail has fallen off!
  • Unfortunately there is not too much that can be done to speed up the growth of the nail beyond leading a healthy lifestyle and getting lots of exercise and sun(basically anything that boosts your metabolism).



Step 2: Treat The Pain!

Toenail Falling Off
Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation… and then some anti-inflammation!
  • If the toe is really painful – apply ice for 15-20 mins until it starts to get numb.
  • Initially elevate the foot to decrease the pain as well.
  • Take some anti-inflammatory medication to prevent long lasting pain.
  • Put a band-aid on it so that it does not catch on anything!



Step 3: Trim and File the Nail!

Toenail Falling Off
Trim the nail after the pain is gone so that it doesn’t catch on anything later!
  • Once the pain is decreased, trim the nail so that it is no longer loose!
  • Trim all the loose nail, it is already detached and gone.
  • If it catches on a sock or bed sheets, you may re-injure it!
  • Use an emery board or pumice stone to trim the nail down.



Step 4: Prevent Infection:

Toenail Falling Off

  • Apply some antibiotic ointment cream ( neosporin and triple antibiotic ointment).
  • Do this for a week or two after the injury.
  • If the toe is getting red hot and swollen, you experience nausea, fever or redness moving up the toe or throbbing pain that lasts past the icing, anti-inflammatory medication and elevation then you likely have an infection.
  • Get yourself to a podiatrist or a emergency room as soon as possible.



Step 5: Protect the Toenail:

Toenail Falling Off

  • If you are going to continue running or working on that foot put some heavy duty duct tape or athletic tape over the band-aid.
  • If you are a runner or exercise, get some bigger or better shoes!
  • If you work construction, consider some steel toe shoes!



Step 6: Wait for the Toenail to Grow Back!

Toenail Falling Off

  • Unless you damaged the nail matrix(the base of the nail) then it should grow back every time.
  • Almost all grow back normally!
  • If there is matrix damage, the nail may curve more or be thicker- it is essential a scar of the nail bed.
  • Treatment at this point should be followup with your podiatrist!



Other Related Nail Problems:

See if any of these other problems apply to your situation!

  1. Toenail Fungus

  2. Very Long Toenails

  3. Ingrown Toenail

  4. Toenail Falling Off

  5. Black Streaks Under The Nails

  6. White Patches On Toenails

  7. Black Spot Under The Toenail

  8. Red Spot Under The Toenail

  9. Toenail Coming Off The Nail Bed

  10. Toenail Psoriasis