How Long Does It Take for a Toenail to Grow Back

How Long Does It Take for a Toenail to Grow Back

A toenail is the stiffened extension of the top layer of your toe skin. They are made of keratin, a protective protein produced in the body from dead cells. The function of the toenail is to protect the soft tissue beneath them and keep the tip of the toe safe.

You might lose a toenail sometimes because of an injury or an infection and wonder how long does it take for a toenail to grow back. Luckily, toenail grows back; however, how long it will take depends on the trauma caused to it.

Reason for Falling Off of Toenail

Both toenails and fingernails grow slowly. In comparison, toenails take much more time to regrow after they fall off.

The foremost reason for toenails falling off or becoming loose is trauma. It may be caused by any of the following:

  • Dropping something heavy on your toenail.
  • Stubbing your toe
  • Nail pressing constantly against the tip or end of the shoes.

Regardless of the cause, the end result is always a damaged toenail which is likely to bleed beneath the nail. You may also develop a black/purple spot beneath the nail; this is the dried blood.

Other reasons that cause nails to become loose and fall off are:

  • Fungal nail infection
  • Psoriasis
  • Thickening of the nail (onychauxis)
  • Side effects of medical treatment like chemotherapy and antimalaria medicines
  • Severe illness

How Long Does It Take Toenail to Regrow?

Usually, it takes longer for the toenail to grow back after falling off compared to fingernails. On average, it may take up to 12 to 18 months for a toenail to grow back completely.

Fingernails take about 4-6 months to regrow. It is said that fingers receive more blood flow because they are used more often than the toenails, which likely contributes to their fast growth.

Here are the typical time frames for a toenail to grow back in different conditions-

  • Trauma: The regrowth of toenail is slow after an injury, and may take 6 months – 2 years to grow back.
  • Fungus: Proper care and medication can take 12-18 months for the fungus to grow out.
  • Medical removal: It can take up to 18 months for a nail to grow fully after a medical removal procedure.
  • Psoriasis: It may take six months or longer for your nails to grow out in case of psoriasis.

How to Treat a Nail That Has Damaged or Fallen Off to Fasten Its Regrowth?

  • Apply an antibacterial ointment to the damaged nail to prevent it from getting infected.
  • Keep the nail or injured area elevated on a pillow to reduce the flow of blood to the injury to decrease swelling and bruising.
  • Apply a cold compress for up to 20 minutes to reduce inflammation and swelling. Wrap a cloth over an ice pack before applying it to your skin.
  • Take biotin supplements to promote the growth of the cells and help your body metabolize protein-building amino acid that contributes to faster nail growth.
  • Keep your wound dry and covered. Leave the bandages on, and do not wet them for at least 24-48 hours.
  • Cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a non-stick bandage.

When Should You See a Doctor?

The trauma of toenails does not usually require medical attention. Anti-inflammatory OTC drugs can be used to relieve pain, and the nail will grow back.

You should seek immediate medical care if the wound starts to bleed and there are signs of infections such as pain, swelling, redness and pus accompanied by fever. 

Tips for Healthy Growth of Toenail

  • For the first 3 days after you lose your nail, soak your foot in salt water 2-3 times a day for 20-30 minutes.
  • Make sure to dry the nail bed completely and keep it clean.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of infection such as swelling, pus, tenderness and redness.
  • For mild to moderate fungal toenail infection, use topical medication. Use regularly for recommended time and infection should clear in 8-10 months of time.
  • Oral antifungal medication is used to treat severe fungal nail infection. It can take a long time to work and may even have side effects.


Losing a toenail may cause it to be completely or partially torn off after a trauma. Depending on the severity, the toe might be sore after the treatment.

The wound should take a few weeks to heal. So, the answer to your query, how long does it take for toenail to grow back is 12-18 months. Keep in mind, damaged nails, when grown back, might look different.

Image Source : canva

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