Falling off toenail can be caused by fungal infection or traumatic injuries. This is, in fact, is not an uncommon thing to see or experience. Fall-off toenail which is caused by fungal infection is as painful as the one caused by traumatic injuries. In addition, it is also aesthetically disturbing and may lead to infection.
How long for a toenail to grow back after falling off?
Detached toenail does not only look scary, but is also painful and prone to infection. Thus, it is important to improve the hygiene of a nail bed with fall-off toenail until the nail fully regrows. Depending on variety of factors, a detached toenail may need different times before fully regrows.
- For whatever reasons, a toenail which has been detached from the nail bed is not going to reattach. Instead, a new nail is going to grow on the nail bed, replacing the damaged one. Commonly, toenail is going to regrow very slow and may elapse a 12 to 18-month period.
- If your toenail partly falls off from traumatic injuries or sports, leaving a small portion of the nail, but not permanent damage to the nail bad, the nail still has got a chance of growing back within 6 to 9 months. As long as the old toenail which is left is not causing any disturbance to the surrounding nail bed, you do not have to have it extracted. Instead, it is going to give a shelter to the new growing nail, making sure it grows properly.
- If you are undergoing a surgery for toenail extraction, you may be given a medication which inhibits or stops the toenail from growing at all. This is common for those with recurrent painful ingrown toenail. While the medication is meant to stop the toenail from growing, it is still possible for the operated toenail to grow back. The approximate time required by the toenail to regrow is more or less the same with the ones fell off by fungi or injuries, but the shape might not be perfect.
- If the nail bed is injured by either fungi or traumatic injuries, the toenail will start to grow along with the healing process. Since the nail bed or nail matrix is injured, the growth time may be quite longer. Nail bed injury also affects the shape and characteristics of this new nail. A new toenail which grows after a nail bed injury commonly has a weird shape, following the injury along the nail bed. If the nail bed is infected by fungi, it is required to completely heal the infection before having the nail grow back. Medications to inhibit nail growth, thus is used. The entire treatment and nail re-growth may take more than a year, and the nail will grow completely within 2 years.
What to do during toenail re-growth
- Wear friendly footwear, which do not put pressure to your toe nail bed. You might not be able to wear any shoes within the first months of the injury. When you are able to wear covered shoes, instead of open sandals, choose ones with minimal pressure effect on your toenail.
- Keep your injured nail bed clean. It is important to change the dressing twice a day and make sure it is moist, in order to provide proper environment for the new cells to grow and thus repair the nail bed. Injured nail bed may result in weird-shaped toenail.
- Nutritious diet is very important in enhancing toenail regrowth. During healing, make sure you increase your calcium, protein, zinc, and vitamins intake, which is essential for nail growth. In addition, cut back sugar, saturated fats, and alcohol.
- If the pain elevates during healing process, or if the surround nail bed is swollen, see the doctor immediately to check for infection, which may inhibit nail regrowth.