Nail Care

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:

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
  • Pain

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.

Toenail injury:

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.

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70 responses to Is Your Toenail Falling Off?

  1. hi there,
    My big toe toe nails have fallen off due to injury, is there something I can do to make them grow back healthily? they look aweful and am worried they wont repair properly!
    Thanks so much,

  2. Hello!

    My big toe toenails have been separated from the skin due to injury as well. Do I have to see the doctor to get it cut off so that the new one can grow out or the new nail will push the old one out?

  3. My big toe nail has gone a green colour, and the top side has become slightly loose. Is there any way i can stop it from falling off and get it to heal faster, it looks awful. It doesnt hurt, and when i was at the doctors on thursday, she didnt know what it was, however, she wasnt my usual doctor and didn’t really take the time to look at it. And, at the time, it wasn’t loose. Please help. Also, if it does fall off, how long does it usually take to grow back?

    If only it wasnt flip-flop season!

  4. Place your foot in epsom salt and keep the area clean and eat lots of Jello (As funny as it sounds). Jello is good for nails and helps them grow.

  5. M said on August 14, 2009

    I hurt my toe a couple of weeks ago and part of the nail seperated from the toe. Half is on and half is off. Should I pull the nail off or will the new nail push the old nail off?

  6. When my toenail turned black, I wound up pushing it straight up and back toward the toe to get it off. It loosened on its own and didn’t hurt coming off. One less thing to worry about!

  7. I’ve had no injury to my toes, but the nails keep falling off sparatically.

  8. ^^ I thought I had a rock in my sock, but it turns out, it was my pinky toenail. OUCHHH! It don’t hurt when it happens, nor is it discolored. They’re normal toenails till they FALL OFF! WHAT’S WRONG WITH MEEEEEEE?
    Help me please. 😛

  9. My daughter’s big toe nails keep falling off every fall. She does not have injury and no discoloration. She will go all summer with sandals and nail polish. Once she starts cheerleading practice in August the last week of August or first week of September he toe nails fall off.

  10. my second toenail has about 1 mm still there and the rest has peeled off its halfway off and hurts to go any further

  11. Hello Fellow bloggers, At my friends Drunkin Birthday Party I somehow stubbed my Bigger Toenail. After that night it hurt for a few days and then it became bruised. After 2 weeks my toenail was still bruised! Im not sure what is wrong with it or if it’ll even go away! Im kinda scared if it will fall off because this coming week i will be going be going on a trip to the Bahamas and as we all know the beach requires being barefoot. So im really hoping that it will not fall off.

    this is how my toe looks: at the bottom of the toenail where the skin meets the nail (cuticle) its dark black and as you look higher it gets blue, red, then light brown. Do you think it will fall off??

    If you could help me out i would appreciate it [:

    Suzanne Finnegan

  12. Yeah yellow toenails is most likely a fungal infection, and it can cause things like that to happen. Many people somehow think it’s normal, but if they would treat it quickly, it would make things so much easier.

    Yellow Toenails

  13. my gf had gotten her big toe injured through soccer, but now the toenail fell off. when I took the nail off, it was yellowish/greenish underneath on the new nail? is this the fungus and if so, how do i fix it.

  14. Fuck you and your nasty toes. The whole lot of you.

  15. I love clean feet.

  16. Suddenly my #4 toe nail (next to small toe)turned whitish and fell off, right foot. When I look at the nail on the root end, I can see that sometime in the past, normal growth became limited and the nail simply started to gradually thin out over about 1/8 inch until it became nothing. No discoloration, no thickening, no itching and no sign of physical injury. I play a lot of tennis and have two nails (#4 and 5) on my left foot infected by a fungus which is being treated locally. What would be the probable cause?

  17. My nail fell of during a soccer game and it’s turned blackish green will it fall off

  18. I do alot of running and im proud of my battered looking feet, some of my nails have fallen off but ohwell life goes on ay! but i guess it is better for people to get it sorted out incase it gets worse!

  19. My toenail wasn’t discolored at all. It just seemed to separate from the nail bed and fall off. I do wear a lot of high heels for my recitals. When I was a kid I banged my toes a lot.

    I should add that it doesn’t hurt at all. The nail has fallen off already. So do I just wait for a new one to grow back?

  20. Wow I thought I was the only one who had my toenails fall off but I geuss I’m not the only one. Will this continue to happen for the rest of my life? does it ever get better?

  21. Wow here too Amanda! I looked down at my unstressed feet..I thought…no fungus or discoloration of big toe nail..And I thought at first need pedicure the polish was off big toe! No whole toe nail was off…I had no pain and nail was not wounded or fungus with discoloration!? New nail seems in process of replacing itself…so just waiting for i’s full appearance till I go back to get new pedicure.

  22. My toe nail fail off due to an injury and I realized to late because I had done a pedicure and had color on the toe, when I took off the nail polise, I realized it was all black & blue and the toe nail had separated. I do not have the nail, would it grow back. After my bath and like twice a day I put Hydrogen Peroxide and also Neosporin (first Air Antibiotic Ointment. Thank you.

  23. My pinky nail looks bent but it does not hurt or look discolored. is my toenail going to fall of?

  24. My comment to “hehe” who loves clean feet: we all do!
    It is not the condition we chose to have! One day when you get older-many nasty things will start happening to your body! You will see, smarty, f…ng pants! Carma is a funny thing! :)

  25. i got an injury on my big toenail from my high heels at a party and dont know what to do. only half of my nail has fallen off, what do i do with the parts of the nail that is still on there? also how long does it take for the nail to grow back? x please help thanks Beth x

  26. my middle toe nail just out of the blue was half way off and it didint hurt what do i do

  27. rico said on May 3, 2010

    yeah, i was playing basketball and my shoes were too small, and my toe is too long, so it curled under and i played for 6 hours, i kept putting pressure on it, then i got home home, looked down and saw a red toe, then it turned black, now its peeling off, doesnt hurt but looks weird, everyone makes fun of me for it, but what goes around comes around

  28. My toenail feels as though it is falling off, I caught it on something last week. It is currently a white colour.

    Should I pull it off?

  29. my toe nail in the middle is falling of and i dont have fungus or injured

  30. my toenail came loose and all of it fell off but one tiny piece. I was going to wait for it to come of as well but just now that piece got stuck on a loose thread on my bed and was violently yanked when i attempted to get off my bed, therefore it began bleeding, i cut of as much as i could but a bit is still attached, what do i do?

  31. I just lost one of the smaller toe’s nail…….While in for a manicure I mentioned this to the operator & she said, “It’s due to pedicures….polish being on the nail too long.” Is this a fact?

  32. helloo,my big toe nail is about to fall off just dont dare pull it, it looks perfectly normal what shouldd i doo :[ xx

  33. would it be betaa if i pulled the hanging half of my nail off or let fall off, helpp what should i dooo ???

  34. Dre said on July 28, 2010

    I had no injuries nor any yellow or white color change.One day my big toe had a purple-ish color tone I took a closer look & this clear liquid came out from under the nail & detached from nail bed out of no where…why??I live in Hawaii and always wear flip-flops so my feet are not trapped in shoes all day & always keep my toenails trimmed & clean.Can you help please it’s sooo embarrassing……….

  35. Dre said on July 28, 2010

    I also wanted to mention I’ve had no pain or discomfort.Do I have to see a doctor or can I just get anti-fungal medicine over the counter?

  36. My brother was riding his bike and he crashed into a rock. now his toe is all white and it’s hanging by a thread. should he pull it out???

  37. im having problems 2 of my toenails have fallen off and im not sure why it leaves a vey shallow bit of nail underneath but the top part comes off there is no signs of infection and it isnt painful or red just not sure why it is happening.

  38. i hit my my toenail on a piece of metal it shoved towards the left of my toe into the skin but is coming up and coming off.. how long will it take to fall off??

  39. My boyfriend doesn’t have big toe toenails!!! His mom took some type of medicine during her pregnancy wit him so they were deformed and were cut out. I recently have hit my big toe twice really hard. It separated itself from the bed and a new is growing under it. It’s kind of falling off I guess. It never got bruised or blue or black. But after it separated itself it started turning yellow. Is that because of fungus?

  40. My toenails keep falling off its doing my head in and costing a fortune in fake ones…what the hell is wrong doesn’t even know there is antyhing wrong until they fall off….OMG it has been one expensive summer….

  41. two days ago i was doing the dishes and i dropped a mug on my big toe. it turned blue at the bottom right away and stayed that way four 2 days. it hurts really bad to walk. what do i do ?????? please :( i want my normal feeling big toe again

  42. I hit my baby toe nail on a trolley and then again a couple of days later, it hurts so bad i thought it was broken. I realised today that half of my nail has separated completely from the nail bed but is still attached the other side, its red underneath and hurts and is itchy! do i pull it all off or just leave it! its horrible and i dont know what to do!?!?!?

  43. Ok i had never had any toe injury in my life, and now i just had one recently. my big toe nail, has came off, well atleast half of it, and its scary. i dnt know what to do. should i rip it off or should i badage it?…it looks horible. need help sooooonnn…… very soon please.

  44. I took part in a sponsored walk 11 weeks ago and somehow both big toenails became bruised and painful. Euugh one dropped off in the bath last week and I think the other one will too. I can’t bear it! I have actually stuck my fallen off toenail back on with a plaster because I can’t look at it without feeling sick! Can i stick a false nail to the area where my nail was, or can I paint the new skin (no nail) with polish to match my other toes? It souunds vain but I love my polished toes in summer!!

  45. I had a toe nail (big) to fall off some weeks ago.. Now,around the perimeter of the nail it is really SWOLLEN… I do not know what to do…. I have soaked it in epsom salt (just for 2 days).

  46. my toe nail was just hanging on one corner and so i just pulled it off i do play soccer and was black for a while now that it wud heal obv not :(, question is i’m not in pain now but can i play soccer or wat? will i be in pain? plz any response wud be greatly appreciated

  47. a year ago my big toe got stepped on during a soccer game. it ended up falling off it did heal…so i thought. i noticed that the toenail wasnt getting longer, it seemed like it was just getting thicker. and a coupleof weeks ago one side of my toenail started to fall off. i have no idea what to do!!! it seems like one half grew back correctly but the other just doesnt seem to grow back right. WHAT DO I DO??????

  48. for some reason (i forget how) i hurt my toe and it hurt really badly. i decided it was nothing and ignored it. i went to get a pedicure and the nail polish covered it right up. after a month i finally had time to redo my nail polish but by the time i took it off i was shocked to find that my whole toe was black!! i started freaking out and trying to dig under my toe thinking it was dirt or something i realized that my toe nail was loose, and i cut it until all that was left was a dark black line of a cutile. im really scared. will i ever be able to grow back my normal toe?? :(

  49. I dropped a stool on my big toe. It hurt like hell, and my nail went blue/black and I had a blood blister underneath. It fell off 6 weeks later and currently I have a new nail growing back.

  50. 1/2 the big toe nail is loose and detached due to pedicure fungus. Should I cut it off??

  51. hey ima really freakin out i have a toenail growing underneath my other toenail and its really creepy but its yellow and brownish and do u kno what it is??? its freakin me out but it hurts really bad but will it hurt worst if it falls off? ran into stage and hit it on my toe in gym really really hard.. what should i do??? should i see a doctor about this???

  52. in january i hurt my toe after jumping in the snow off a fence and it turned blue and its still blue but it is starting to fade from blue to a normal color what does this mean?

  53. ive lost both of my big toe nails due to injury and im very depressed.. my left foot new nail seems fine i mean is very small but it looks healthy on the other hand my right foots toe nail fell after and the new nail has like a whiteish spot oand its also like light yellow.. i dont know if that means i have a signs of fungus or what??? THIS SUCKSSSSS SO BAD!!!!!

  54. deb said on March 5, 2011

    i went to pa and had hurt my third toe on right foot.. it red purple black and white. It hard to walk and hurts bad and the nail is push a little bit inside my foot i dont know what to do a i saw the doctor and didnt really do anything

  55. Deb go to the dotor again and get a xray you may of broke your toe

  56. My toenail, on the left foot, the toe beside my baby toe, turned white, as if it was chipping, split in half top to bottom, and the entire nail came off revealing a fully formed, but slightly yellow nail beneath. I think it might be foot fungus, as I do not recall hitting the nail or it hurting, turning black or anything like that. I do teach aquafitness and yoga and am in and out of change rooms. I do wear footwear to and from the pool.

    What should I do about it?

  57. Hello my toe is coming off i am scared to pull it off but under the toe is dry blood i tried to clean it but it wont clean what should i do its so ugly looking n red and black and it hurts really bad

  58. i hurt my middle toe and the nail started turn black and blue it started to come off but there was already another nail under it i pulled it off fast it didnt hurt ,..,

  59. hi, the toenail next to my big toe was red and hurting last week. then it turned brown and i discovered it was coming off when i touched it. Is this from an injury or from fungus?

  60. Somehow when my toe nail ( some of it ) fell off, it left with a little bit of toe nail left.
    somehow its stuck there and it hurts alot.
    My mum and dad tried with scissors buh it didnt work …
    any suggestions?

  61. hey, my pinky toe on my left foot has been getting kinda yellowish color. and is starting to fall off…… what should i do?? it didnt start falling off until i stubbed my toe a few times.. From the details above i suspect its just fungus infection…….. thats making it fall off even more

  62. So a few weeks ago nothing appeared to be wrong with my toenails. I don’t play any contact sports where my toes would be injured and pedicure them once a week. Inexplicably, one toenail fell off with no pain at all. Now five are gone. I can’t tell what’s wrong visibly so I’m not sure if it’s a fungus but my nails now look ridiculous! I can’t get to a doctor as I’m out of the country but are there any quick fixes until I’m home in a few days? Tea tree oil?
    ugh. please help!

  63. Hi. this is like the second time that my forth toenails to the pink toenails had falling off. No dark or yellowish coloration nor pain, just a nail that fell off. Can it still be a fungus even tho I have none of those symptoms?

  64. Ok one day I was just removing some nail polish from my big toe and i saw my toenail was yellow!!!!!! Don’t know what I did!! I haven’t told my parents because I don’t wanna go to the doctor but I will try everything this website said but it’s gonna be hard… My toe nail has not come off and I dont Think it’s lose because then I would feel it… What do I do!!!

    • Oh that’s just something to do w/ the reaction between ur nail polish and nail happens to me all the time

  65. Oo I left one thing out … When I was little it dropped a pic frame on my toe and it turned black and blue… Is my nail yellos because what happened wen I was lil .?.?.?..Again I didn’t tell my parents because I hate it when ppl touch my feet so I don’t wanna go to the doc ….. HELP

  66. I like this website very much, Its a really nice office to read and incur info .

  67. i was clipping my toenails when i noticed the toe next to my big toe was a yellowish brown and was thick, it grossed me out(of course) and i thought it was just from not clipping them for a while. now that i clipped them and cleaned under my toe nail i noticed under that one toenail it seemed hollow. is it going to fall off? and will it grow back? i really hope it does.

  68. Ok so my toenail is halfway off right now!! I’m panicking, and Im almost a teenager so it’s really embarrassing. It is only on by a little piece! What do I do?!

  69. Hi-I am a 41 year old hiker and spend 2-3 nights a week hiking. Last summer I used a smaller shoe size while hiking and on more than one occasion stubbed my toes against rocks (then I started wearing hiking boots:) both my big toes turned blackish blue and just recently one fell off-I knew what happened and don’t have a problem with waiting for a new one to grow but it’s almost cute sandal and heel time here in Colorado and I’m wondering if it’s okay to glue the natural nail over the area where the new nail is growing or will this cause a problem?? I love to keep my toes clean and polished pretty in the summer time and cant even imagine not wearing cute shoes!! Help…