Why do toenails fall off?
It’s either because of sudden, intense trauma or gradual stress over time. For example, a particularly intense stubbing of your toe can lead to it falling off. But, this can also happen due to conditions like athlete’s foot, which is a fungus that grows because you keep your feet warm and moist too long.
Diabetes can also restrict circulation to your feet, which creates the right conditions for fungus to grow and your toenail to fall off. When fungus grows untreated on your foot, it can sever the connective tissue between your toenail and your foot. And eventually, that causes to your toenail falling off.
Prevention is the Best Route, When Possible
You can’t completely prevent all causes that lead to your toenail falling off. But, if you’re the athletic and active type, whether you’re in sports now or not, definitely give your feet time to breathe and get exposure to the air.
You should also wash your feet daily. Wear shoes in locker rooms so you don’t find yourself getting athlete’s foot from someone else. Wear socks specially designed to keep your feet dry. Use perspiration-reducing powder.
Running frequently can also cause enough stress to your foot to lead to your toenail falling off (and this wouldn’t be a result of athlete’s foot). For runners, the solution lies in having footwear that fits perfectly, as that minimizes the impact on your foot.
What If Your Toenail Begins Falling Off Anyway?
Despite your best efforts, you can still find yourself with a toenail that’s ready to fall off. And let’s assume that this looks inevitable. What do you do then?
For starters, don’t rip it off. That only leads to more damage.
Instead, clip off the portion that’s falling off (so it doesn’t catch on your socks) and file down the rough edges. Clean off the affected area. Apply antibiotics to prevent infection. Cover your toe with a bandage. Continue to do this as your toenail regrows. Keep your feet dry and change your socks frequently to ensure your feet stay dry.
It will take around 18 months for your toenail to completely regrow.
If you have any complications during the process, that’s the time to see your podiatrist. They can save you an awful lot of future pain.
If your toenail won’t stop bleeding, or if your entire toenail falls off, those are also times to see a podiatrist.
Now you know how to handle a toenail that’s falling off so you save yourself pain and aggravation.