Having a nail come off might be scary. Unfortunately, this thing is not uncommon. There are a lot of events in our daily life which give the risk of having a broken nail. It might be as simple as frequent running to an unexpected injury. Hitting your toe onto the door or a chair foot can also cause a detached nail. Slamming your fingers or toes into a door will leave severe pain, and coming off nails might be even more painful. Physically, a detached nail of your finger or toe is scary. Some people even think that this nail is not going to regrow. In fact, despite the pain, it might cause, a nail injury may heal completely without any specific treatment. Some other nail injuries, however, might require further medical care.
What usually cause falling off nails?
The falling of nails or detached nails may be caused by a variety of reasons. The most common ones are a fungal infection and injuries. Fungal nail infection happens to the keratin. This infection can infect not only your nails but also your feet skin. The most obvious fungal infection on the feet skin is referred as athlete’s foot. This is an infection which causes dry flakes on the area between your toes and your feet skin. This nail fungal infection may also happen both to your fingers and toes, although the toes are far more susceptible. This is not surprising, as the moist, humid, isolated environment during our time wearing those shoes is a perfect one for fungus growth. When this fungus infects your nail, it turns yellowish and fragile. Eventually, the nail might come off and is separated from its bed.
Injuries which involve nails are also very common. Stumbling upon a chair foot, accidentally picking a nail with a bike stander, or slamming your finger into a drawer are the most common experiences. These injuries may promote trauma to the nail blood vessels and turn the nail itself into blue or black. Compared to fungal nail infection, nails detachment caused by injuries are more concerned, since it may lead to a more serious problem such as infection.
Should I remove the nail once it fell off?
Either fungal infection or injuries may cause your nails to fall off. You may see some bleeding which comes from the bed under the nail, where tiny blood vessels are located. Your nail may also detach from its original position, accompanied by severe pain. You might be confused about should or should not you take the affected nail off. In fact, some considerations might help you deciding.
- When you notice your nail is coming off, you might want to be cautious about its hygiene in the first place. If your nail is affected by a fungal infection, it may not come off spontaneously. Instead, it may show some significant symptoms eventually. During this symptoms outbreak, you should keep it clean and sterilized. Otherwise, injuries might cause a spontaneous falling off a nail. If this happens, you might want to wipe the blood off and clean your affected finger or toe with water thoroughly.
- Once your affected area is cleaned, you need to observe how severe the nail condition is. You might see the nail stay in place but there is a bruise underneath it. You might also see the nail come off on one side of your nail bed. Or, you might also notice that it is torn in a half, where one part is coming off while another part is staying on the bed. The same case works also for fungus nail infection. The difference is only that you might not spot some bruises, but some discoloration.
- Home nail removal should only be done for blackened nail, which means the nail is dead already and removing it will not harm any tissues beneath it. For the half-broken or cracked nails, you should not remove it without any medical advice, as it may instead, lead to an infection. Surgical nail removal is usually needed for entirely deceased nail or pit nail which causes painful effect on your nail bed.
- If you have a fungal infected or injury caused falling off a nail, hygiene is the most important thing to avoid infection. The detached nail will regrow although it may need a long time, around 6 to 12 months, for instance. Either keeping the nail or removing it after falling off may inhibit this grow. A medical discussion may be needed.