How Long Does It Take for a Toenail to Grow Back

fallen toenail

Toenails don’t seem to do much, but they do. Nails are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up skin and hair. Your nails protect the soft tissue under the nails and keep the tips of your toes safe.

Occasionally, due to trauma, infection, or other conditions, you may lose a toenail. How long does that toenail take to grow back?

What Is A Toenail Exactly?

Toenails are hardened extensions of the top layer of skin. They’re made of keratin, a protective protein that’s very strong and doesn’t tear easily compared to other cells in the body.

How Do Healthy Toenails Look?

A healthy toenail has a smooth surface and no bumps. They appear pink or nude with no bumps or discoloration. Watch out for these warning signs that your toenails need medical attention.

Nails turn yellow. This is an early symptom of onychomycosis or fungal nails.

Thick, brittle toenails. If your toenails appear to be thickened and “chip” when you cut or file them, you may have severe nail fungus.

Most home remedies and over-the-counter remedies for nail fungus don’t work. Only a podiatrist can prescribe the correct treatment to remove the fungus and heal the nail.

When treating nail fungus, a podiatrist sometimes files the affected nail into a thin layer and prescribes a topical treatment. In some cases, you will need to remove the entire toenail to allow a new toenail to grow.

Black toenails. Dark discolored toenails may be a subungual hematoma, a bruise on the nail bed under the toe. This is usually the result of an injury to your foot.

In some cases, toenails can fall off and new ones grow. You should still see a podiatrist because a subungual hematoma usually means damage to the nail bed. Black toenails can also indicate nail fungus or an underlying melanoma.

Ingrown nail. This painful condition occurs when the nail grows outward and penetrates into the skin of the next toe. You can protect your toes with pads or bandages until you can see a doctor. A podiatrist can cut the nails and splint them to promote direct regeneration of the nails.

Why Did Toenails Fall Off?

Your toenails can fall out for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is injury or trauma, but we break it down as follows:

  • Damage

Trauma can cause the nails to pry from the bed of nails as if the nails were hit or stuck.

Severe or repeated toe bumping/rubbing can cause toenails to fall off. This is also common among athletes who wear shoes that are not roomy enough. Similarly, distance runners (marathon runners and/or ultra-distance runners) and distance runners are especially prone to developing black – and eventually falling off – toenails. In fact, you may encounter multiple athletes with missing toenails.

Fungal nail infection occurs when the fungus invades the nail or toenail and the skin under the nail. Symptoms include cracked, yellowed, discolored, streaked, thickened, or blotchy nails.

  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis.
  • Acetone nail polish or some soap.
  • Chemotherapy or antimalarial drugs.
  • Critical illness.

How Long Will It Take For Toenails To Grow Back?

How Long Will It Take For Toenails To Grow Back?

Once the nail is detached from the nail bed, it won’t reattach, so don’t try it. Instead, new nails must grow back. Toenails grow slowly; toenails can take up to 18 months (1.5 years) to grow back.

Stages of Nail Regrowth

Nails grow from a matrix under the skin, which is the base of the nail.

New cells form in the matrix. As these new cells grow, old cells move up and through your skin. Cells on the surface die and harden, turning into nails.

How To Make Toenails Grow Back Faster?

Absolutely. While there is no sure-fire way to promote faster toenail growth, there are many things you can do to encourage healthy toenails to regrow where you’ve lost your partner. Here are some simple home remedies to ensure your nails have the best chance of regrowing:

  • For the first 3 days after losing a toenail, soak your feet in 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of salt and 4 cups (1 liter) of warm water for 20 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Cover with new bandages.
  • Make sure the nail bed is dry and clean until the nail bed is firm and you can see signs of nail regrow.
  • Watch for signs of infection, such as heat, redness, pain, tenderness, swelling, or pus.
  • If any artificial nails start to separate from the nail bed, remove them. Leaving it on will tear the nail bed.
  • If you trim your shed nails, you reduce the chances of your nails getting stuck and tearing. If part of your toenail has completely fallen off, don’t pull out the rest of the toenail. However, if there is still a piece of toenail attached, use nail clippers to trim it carefully.
  • Take a biotin supplement. Biotin aids in the metabolism of protein-building amino acids that are essential for toenail growth.
  • Use nail hardener. Nail softness makes nails more prone to breakage, which increases the need for nail regeneration.

Tips for Toenail Care

1. Wash feet and toes with warm soapy water and mild soap. Dry socks and shoes before putting them on.

2. Trim toenails only. Trimming the sides of your nails can cause ingrown toenails. Finish with a gentle file to remove any obstructions.

3. Do not cut or push your epidermis back. They are there to protect your nail beds from infection.

3. Go barefoot as much as possible. When at home, avoid socks and shoes. Fungi and wart viruses thrive in warm, dark environments.

4. Moisturize. Moisturizing your feet regularly can keep your feet healthy and toenails soft. It also heals chapped skin. Cracked skin allows infections and viruses to penetrate the toes.

5. Treat corns and calluses. Use a pumice stone and moisturize regularly to prevent rough patches. If you have painful corns or excessive calluses that are not responding to home remedies, contact a podiatrist.

When To Seek Medical Help?

Nail trauma doesn’t always require medical attention. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can relieve mild pain, and the nail will eventually grow back.

For hard-to-treat nail fungus, nail psoriasis, and other symptoms of infection, you should see a doctor. Symptoms of infection include:

  • pain
  • discoloration
  • thickened nails
  • exudate
  • shape change


Toenails and fingernails protect your skin, but you can lose your nails due to trauma, fungus, or other reasons.

Most nails will regrow, although the rate of regeneration may vary from person to person. It may take months or a year to recover.

If you recently lost a nail, keep it clean, dry, protected, and most importantly, be patient.