What To Do When Your Toenails Fall Off?

Your toenails can fall of or get detached owing to an injury, fungal infection or even certain skin conditions such as psoriasis. In fact, sometimes it is also seen that serious illnesses and reactions from certain medicines can result in a toenails falling off.

Once the toenail comes off it is not possible to re-attach it. You will have to wait for a new nail to grow on that area. The time duration taken for the toenail to re-grow and the treatment required in the process is dependent on the cause that resulted in the detached toenail and also how much of the toenail remains.

What To Do When Your Toenails Fall Off?

What To Do When Your Toenails Fall Off?

When you find your toenail has fallen off you need not panic. You should have a good presence of mind to do the right thing and not aggravate the condition. Here are some tips regarding that!

  • Do not in any case try to remove the part of the toenail that is not detached.
  • You can use a nail filer to smoothen the sharp or jagged edges.
  • Carefully trim the detached part of your toenail using nail clippers. If you are unable to do it then do not try pulling it. Get it done by a doctor instead.
  • Wash your toe and remove any dirt if present and apply an antibiotic cream.
  • Rush to the doctor for medical aid if your toenail has fallen off completely and is bleeding non-stop.
  • Use a bandage to cover the area from where the toenail has got detached.

Why Does The Injured Toenail Appear Purple Or Black?

In case if your toenail has fallen off or has got detached due to an injury then you might find that that particular region turns purple or black in color. This phenomenon is known as subungual hematoma which results in accumulation of blood under the injured toenail. The build-up of blood under your nail may cause it to separate from the nail bed. It can also take a couple of weeks for the nail to fall off completely.

In case you see that a major part of your toe is subjected to subungual hematoma then you should consult a doctor immediately. Sometimes when there is intense pain near the area of the hematoma then doctors usually use a heated wire or needle in order to make a minute hole in the toenail as this method aids in alleviating the pressure.

What Can Cause Your Toenails to Fall Off & Its Treatment

Here are some causes that may result in your toenail falling off:


Sometimes an injury even of the simplest nature can result in the toenail to fall off or get d detached. If you drop a heavy object on your toe or hurt it due to an injury or an accident then there are chances that the toenail can get detached.

What To Do When Your Toenails Fall Off Due to Injury: Here are some ways in which you can treat an injured toe at home:

  • Soak your feet in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Keep the toe elevated
  • Clip off any jagged or sharp edges of the remaining part of the nail
  • Bandage the region daily for at least a week or till the skin hardens
  • Consume nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen in order to eliminate the pain

It usually takes a period of six months to 2 years for the toenail to grow back completely. It actually depends on which toenail has fallen off. Ensure that your other toenails are always trimmed properly and you should wear proper fitting and comfortable shoes in order to avoid further damage.


If fungus grows between your toenail and nail bed then it can eventually cause your toenail to fall off.

Symptoms: Here are some symptoms of fungal infection of the toenail:

  • Your toenail appears thicker
  • You will see your toenails have turned yellowish brown or white in color
  • Toenails appear ragged, brittle and dry
  • Toenail turns into an unusual shape
  • Toenail gives off a foul smell

Causes: Here are some causes that can lead to fungal toenail infection:

  • Athlete’s Foot – This can transform into fungal infection in the long run
  • Diabetes – Poor circulation of blood to the feet due to diabetes can cause toenail infection
  • Old Age- With old age, your nails can get dry leading to cracks and allowing fungus to get inside your toenail

What To Do When Your Toenails Fall Off Due to Fungal Infection?: It can be difficult to treat fungal infections of the toenail. It depends upon the severity of the infection.

If it is mild in nature then it will heal up on its own. In case you are diabetic you should consult your doctor immediately regarding the infection as reduced blood circulation can aggravate the infection.

The treatment for curing fungal infections in the toenail generally requires use of topical or oral antifungal medications. The doctor may prescribe you both kinds of medications if your case is severe. It is better to go for oral antifungal medicines as they are more effective than over the counter topical medicines. Plus there is reduced risk of infection of the new toenail.

Medications can be needed for a period of about 12 weeks. Results cannot be visible until the new toenail grows back. In case you are experiencing any side effects such as fever or rashes from your medicines then you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

While in serious cases of fungal toenail infection a surgery is needed, mild cases can be treated at home with these simple home remedies:

  • Keep your feet dry
  • Wear shoes that are breathable
  • Regularly change your socks
  • Always keep your nails trimmed
  • Disinfect your nail clippers at regular intervals
  • Wear shoes in damp communal areas like locker rooms or spas


Skin cells build up in cases of psoriasis which is an auto-immune condition. Such build up of the skin cells on the nail bed can result in falling off of the toenail.

Symptoms: Some of the symptoms of psoriasis on the toenail are as follows:

  • Thickening
  • Pitting
  • Brown or yellow color
  • Weird shape of nail
  • Chalk color buildup under the nail

What To Do When Your Toenails Fall Off Due to Psoriasis:

Here are some simple ways in which you can take care of a detached toenail due to psoriasis:

  • Keep your affected toe safe from any sharp object
  • Soak your feet in warm water to ease discomfort
  • Use a file to smoothen edges of the remaining toenail
  • Always keep your feet and toenails moisturized

Doctors may recommend the following treatment methods:

  • Rub topical steroids onto your cuticle and toenail
  • Phytotherapy in which your toes are subjected to ultraviolet rays
  • Removal of toenail surgically


A detached toenail usually grows back within a few months to a year. It can also take a period of two years in case the condition is severe. Seeking medical supervision is suggested in case bleeding and pain persists. Be careful and keep your feet clean and keep your toenails short and smooth to avoid your toenail from falling off.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 9, 2018

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