My Toenail Is Falling Off….
It’s not everyday that you look down and notice a toenail falling off, though it’s not as uncommon as most people think. There are many potential causes for a toenail which has separated itself from the nail bed.
Here are some of those causes along with ways to deal with them:
Often the more severe injuries go unnoticed or untreated until enough time has passed that the perpetual minor insult to cause more damage than can be reversed. Such injuries can occur with Runner’s Toe, often the result of having worn shoes that fit poorly during extensive wear. Half a size down from what you would normally wear can result in Runner’s Toe by the day’s end.
Repeated insults to the nail bed may cause bruising to occur in the cuticle. In some cases, this bruising can be so severe and painful as to render a someone unable to walk. In rare cases, swelling in the cuticle cuts off the oxygen to the nail, choking off the circulation until it blackens and dies. The connective tissue dies along with it.
The same type of injury can occur with a similar result in a much shorter period of time through blunt force trauma. If you were to accidentally, or in anger, kick a hard, solid object or drop a weighted object on your foot. This type of injury has the potential to take your breath away for a few moments. Oddly, insults to the foot and toes have a tendency to be especially grueling. Avoid kicking anything that would not yield as much give as a soccer ball, and when working on a construction site or conducting manual labor, consider wearing a boot with a steel-toe or other added support to protect your feet and nails.
Nail fungus is another possibility to consider when dealing with a blackened nail. Nail fungus can also cause a nail to die, rot and eventually fall off. An already injured nail is even more susceptible to fungus due to the separation of the nail allowing it to enter and infect the nail more easily. The incubation period for toenail fungus is long enough that by the time you notice the first signs, the infection has worked its way into each crease and pore both seen and unseen, and it will likely take months to treat. It’s not irreversible, though. If you choose to remove a nail which has begun to fall off or if it has already completely separated, be sure to keep the area clean and consider a topical antifungal to aid in the healing process.
Try and discern what caused the injury to begin with. Nail fungus can cause swelling, even bruising. There are many antifungal medications for toenail fungus and detailed Treatment Guides that will walk you through preparing a nail for treatment to preventing a future infection.