Is Your Toenail Falling Off?
Having a toenail come loose and even go so far as to fall off can be a frightening and disturbing thing, but this information can put your mind at ease and alleviate some of the stress you feel when dealing with such a thing. Believe it or not, this is a common happenstance and is known as onychoptosis. Rather than becoming alarmed it is better to be well informed on the causation and remedy of this malady. Toenails fall off mainly due to two reasons – fungus and injury. Initially, the nail changes its color and then it falls off.
Toenail Falling off due to Fungus:
Fungus can invade the toenails through tiny cuts or the gaps between the nail and nail bed. It thrives in warm moist conditions. The toenail fungus feeds on keratin (the protein which the nail is made off). Gradually the nail turns yellow, brown, becomes thick and falls off.
Signs of toenail fungus are:
- Yellow, brown, or white discoloration
- Crumbling, splitting
- The nail becoming loose or falling off
If you observe the above symptoms, it is recommended that you consult your doctor. They can provide you with oral or topical anti-fungal treatments to treat the infection. If the toenail falls off, it is okay, normally it will be replaced by a new toenail in a few months. Continuing with anti-fungal treatment is important to get rid of the infection completely.
Toenail Falling off due to Injury:
When you run, jog, or play football and are wearing tight shoes, there is the possibility that your toenails can scrape or impact the side of your shoe repeatedly. Sometimes this can cause the blood vessels under the toenail to break which can in turn cause bleeding under the toenail. This is also known as subungual hematoma. Due to accumulated blood, the nail can turn black and fall off.
Signs of toenail injury:
- Black or bluish-black discoloration
If you find the above symptoms, consult your podiatrist for treatment. Your podiatrist will drill a small hole into the nail and drain the blood accumulated under the nail. If the nail is already separated, there is no need to worry as it will be replaced by a new nail in few months.
Preventing Your Toenail From Falling off:
- Wear good quality socks that remove the moisture from your feet, as they can help in preventing toenail fungus. Thick socks can prevent injury to the toenails. Also change your socks regularly, on a daily basis
- Avoid walking barefoot in places such as public locker rooms, showers, swimming pools etc.
- Wear comfortable shoes, which have sufficient gap between the toes and the shoe edge. This will help in preventing nail trauma
- Keep your toenails short to decrease the chances of nail injury
Treating Toenail Symptoms
It is important to understand that despite how stressful this might be if you are dealing with it for the first time that this is not a truly serious condition. It is important to be aware of any injuries you might receive and to watch them to see if they improve on their own or appear to worsen. If the pain level of the injury continues to increase or if you notice any signs of infection or a reddish hue, you can always visit a doctor. If your toenail falls off it is important to keep the toe itself clean, to do this use lukewarm water to clean the area and keep it dry. You will most likely see a new toenail start to grow within a few months.
It is also a good idea to use benzalkonium chloride once or twice in a day. It will act as an antiseptic, which will keep the area clean and free of further infection.The main cause for toenail separation is usually simple and nonthreatening to your overall health and well being. Regardless the reason for the initial injury the cause and reaction is relatively common and not a cause for alarm. The main causes are:
- Toenail fungus infection
- Toenail injury
Toenail fungus infection:
This occurs because of bacteria. The toenail starts hurting and the nail itself becomes discolored. The nail might acquire a yellow or white color.
The infection can be treated by using diluted tea tree oil twice in a day for two weeks. However fungal infections can be persistent and ongoing and if this remedy does not work it is advised to visit your doctor for treatment.
As always, if you are unsure of how to handle this on your own, the best way to give yourself peace of mind is to visit your doctor and get his/her opinion on the matter. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of this particular ailment and how to treat it.