A detached toenail is not a strange condition, though the pain might be severe. The problem can be caused by a fungal infection, injury, or psoriasis. In some cases, your toenail might fall off due to certain medications, chemicals, or serious health conditions.
After your nail has fallen off, there is no way you can attach it back. Instead, you will have to wait patiently for it to grow back naturally. However, based on the reason your toenail(s) fell off, in some instances, you might need medication to make it/them grow back properly.
Toenail Has Fallen Off: What Next?
Despite what made you lose your toenail, there are steps you can take after the bad experience to ensure that another one grows back as soon as possible. Let us look at some quick tips.
In case only a small section of your toenail has fallen off, do not attempt to remove or peel off the remaining bit. If you do that, the problem might be a lot worse and painful.
If the toenail has come out, but there is a small bit of it that is attached to your toe, you want to use nail clippers to remove it. This will prevent it from attaching to your cloth or sock, thereby causing terrible pain. Unless you are comfortable doing this on your own, your doctor can help you with it.
After removing the remaining parts, you might be left with sharp edges that you will use a nail file to smoothen. From there, in case there is any debris, make sure to clean your toes and use an antibiotic ointment to get rid of bacteria.
Use a bandage to cover the affected area and seek instant treatment in case the entire toenail has fallen off, and you are bleeding. Note that while these are simple steps, they can help quicken the duration it takes for your nail to grow up, as well as reduce the pain.
What Might Cause the Toenail to Fall Off?
There are a plethora of simple feet injuries that might make your toenail come off. These include sports, car accidents, and if something is accidentally dropped on your foot. An injured nail will always look purple or black beneath.
The darkening of the injured toenail is caused by subungual hematoma, which makes the blood to accumulate beneath the injured nail. Blood will keep accumulating beneath the nail, thereby making it separate from the toe bed. This is why, in some cases, it might take more than a week for the toenail to fall off completely.
Just remain calm and observe the progress. Once you notice that more than a quarter of your nail is covered with subungual hematoma, be sure to contact your healthcare provider right away. Some people might feel some pain or throb around the hematoma, but your doctors can relieve the pressure using a small needle to create a hole over your toenail.
If you don’t like the idea of seeing a medical practitioner, there are things you can do to treat your injured toenail at home. You can elevate it, soak it in cold water, clip and smoothen up sharp areas, and ensuring that all exposed sections of the affected area are clean.
Before your nail falls off, use a fresh bandage every day to cover the affected areas. You need to do this for around 7-10 days until the skin gets hard enough. During this period, you are encouraged to use drugs such as ibuprofen to help alleviate the pain.
There are instances where fungus might grow between your nail bed and the toenail. If this happens, your nil will fall off eventually. The common pointers of fungal infections include foul smell, unusual shape of toenail, thicker toenails, brittle or ragged toenails.
Note that a fungal toenail infection can develop due to athlete's foot. Some people also develop a fungal infection due to diabetes because it leads to poor circulation in your feet. Your nails might also get dry as you age, thereby making them crack and fall off.
Psoriasis is what happens when your skin cells build up due to abnormal cell division. This is mostly a skin condition, but it might as well affect the toenails. If there is a lot of skin in the nails, this might make it fall off.
The signs and symptoms of psoriasis on the toenail include thickening, pitting, unusual nail shape. To control this condition and prevent your toenail from coming out, you want to use a sharp object to remove the extra skin. But this might also cause your nail to detach.
The best solution is to soak your feet in warm water and smoothen up the edges of your nail using a file. It is vital that you always keep your toenail and feet moisturized at all times.
The Bottom Line
According to experts, if your toenail has fallen off, it might take around eighteen months to grow back fully. But the process is affected by factors such as the reasons it fell off, and what you are doing to take care of the situation. With the best medication, your toenail might grow back within less than the time mentioned. Therefore, be sure to see your doctor, and they will advise you accordingly.