Don’t Panic! What To Do When Your Toenails Fall Off, How To Prevent It?


Has one of your toenails fallen off? Onychoptosis is the medical term that doctors use to describe a situation where the toenails fall off. Although this usually doesn’t indicate or present any serious problems, it can definitely be confusing and scary when it happens to us without understanding why. 

I wrote this article for those of you who are wondering what to do when your toenails fall off. I intend to explain why, what to do, and how to prevent it from happening again.

Toenails Fall Off

Why Toenails Fall Off?

Sustaining an Injury to the Toenail

People can sustain an injury to the toenail when they place too much pressure on it or during vigorous exercise or running. The toenails may also be injured by excessive wear of shoes that are too small.

Shoes that are too small cause the large toenails to continually rub up against the inside of the shoe, causing bruising and sometimes damage to the tissue that lines the nail bed.

What Happens After The Injury?

After an injury, the toenail will detach from the nail bed and start to feel painful. It will then turn black, falling off. It generally takes a few months for a new toenail to grow back in, replacing the blackened toenail. Be sure to take extra good care of the nail bed while the new toenail grows back in, applying ointment to disinfect the area.

The Toenail is Infected With Fungus

The most common reason why toenails fall off is a fungus infection. The fungus typically develops on the top edge of the toenail at first, then, later on, the infection will make its way to the area under the toenail. The reason why the toenail falls off is because the fungus eats proteins that comprise the toenail.

What Happens After the Infection?

After the infection, you will experience pain and discomfort and perhaps inflammation. After this, the toenail will change color and grow thicker, eventually breaking away and falling out. Eventually the toenail will grow in again, but if you don't take care, it will become contaminated with fungus like the toenail before it.

Here is an explaination: Will a Toenail can Re-grow If It Falls off after an Injury?

How Long Until Things Get Back to Normal?

When a toenail breaks away from the nail bed, it won't reattach. A brand new toenail must grow in to replace the old one. This could take from half a year up to a year and a half.

If you're wonder why is my big toenail not growing, you can read more here.

What to do When Your Toenail Falls Off?

1. Medical Remedies

You want to knock out the root of the problem causing your toe to call out with medical remedies, which is usually a fungus. See your doctor to seek treatment. He or she can prescribe you medications that can reduce your pain and inflammation.

Antifungal creams can be applied directly to the nail as in conjunction with an oral medication to take care of bacteria. When oral and topical medicine doesn’t do the job well enough, surgery may be involved to remove the toenail.

What To Do If You Have a Loose Toenail?

2. At Home Remedies

You can use at home remedies to disinfect the toe, relieve inflammation, help address your pain, and care for the nail bed until it has recovered. I encourage you to see a doctor when you have any issue or pain related to your toenails, but after determining the cause of the problem, you can treat it accordingly with any of these remedies.

Try using tree oil, undiluted, on the toenail twice a day for around two weeks. The oil should be massaged and rubbed well enough into the nail so it can be effective.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used to treat toe fungus. It works as an antiseptic to deal with the infection. Warm up the apple cider vinegar, then soak your toenails in it for around fifteen minutes or more. After the soak, completely dry the toenails and be sure that the spaces in between your toes are also dried.

You might want to try rubbing alcohol. You can soak your toenails in the alcohol for around twenty minutes daily, drying the nails thoroughly after the soak.

​How to Keep Toenails from Falling off?

Also, while you are at home, you want to dress your injury to avoid any additional infection by bacteria. Every day until your toenail falls off, and after it does, if the nail bed is not cured, dip the toe in the lukewarm water and heptahydrate sulfate mineral epsomite. Do this until the toenail falls off and your skin tissues regrow.

If your toenails are seriously inflamed or are producing pus, have them examined by a physician because an infection caused by bacteria could escalate and become something much worse.

Preventing Onychoptosis

To prevent Onychoptosis address the causes: fungus infection brought on by bacteria and injury.

Preventing Toenail Fungus

Toenails Fall Off

Wash your feet thoroughly and dry them properly, especially after being in wet, public places like a swimming pool or a shower.

You will also want to avoid wearing shoes that are too tight for extended periods of time because bacteria flourishes in wet, dark, warm environments. Tight shoes will produce this environment and should be avoided for long stretches of time.

To prevent injury, make sure that you are taking proper care of your toenails. Regularly scan your toenails for abnormalities and care for them accordingly. When you clip your nails, clip them straight across and maintain your cuticles.


To sum things up, toenails fall off for primarily two reasons, injury and fungus infection. Although this can seem scary or disorienting, a toenail falling off is rarely a serious condition.

If this has happened or you are concerned about it happening, you can take preventative measures by caring for your toenails and using caution to prevent injury. Remember to wash and sanitize your foot properly to prevent fungus.

There are a number of home remedies you can try, like :

  • Tea tree oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol

Tea Tree Oil for a Bad Nail!

You will also want to disinfect, clean, maintain and dress your wounded toenail at least once a day to stave off future infections and to speed up the healing process.

Although it may seem frightening to have a toenail fall off, there are easy ways to treat it, and easy ways to prevent it from happening. Now you knew what to do when toenail falls off. Did you like the article? If so, leave a comment below.

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Lamont Ly

My name is Lamont Ly and I have spent the countless number of hours researching and studying the best solutions for foot care related problems. My goal is to save your time as well as money by offering all the assistance backed by relevant and reliable information so that the health of your feet is not compromised in any way.

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