Reasons For a Loose Toenail

Loose Toenail is a condition where the toenail is detached from the nail bed. A toenail that has become loose could be a sign of trouble, and the reason isn’t always apparent. In most cases, the nail splitting from the nail bed underneath is gradual, and only a tiny portion of the nail gets affected. However, in the case of injury to the toe, the nail may break off quite rapidly.


Reasons For a Loose Toenail-LansdownePodiatry
Loose Toenail : Treating a loose toenail can be difficult, but you can learn how to fix it here.


Nail Anatomy  

The nail, also known as “the nail plate,” is attached to the nail bed, which is the skin-colored region beneath the nail bed. The shape at the nail base, white and curved like a half-moon, is called the lunula. The lunula is the mark on which the Nail’s matrix starts.

The place where nail development takes place is in the matrix. Any injury in the nail matrix, whether from injury or infection, could cause nails to split and detach from the bed of the nail and then become loose.


Common Reasons for Nail loosening 

In medical terms, the most commonly cited factors that cause nail loosening, called onycholysis, are trauma and infection.


Fungal Infection 

Nail infections are usually called onychomycosis, which is caused by a nail fungus. Onychomycosis is a typical toenail infection, but it can also occur on the fingernails, specifically for those who perform jobs where hands are frequently subjected to water elements. Onychomycosis grows slowly and may affect the nail in various ways. However, the most frequent symptoms are thickened nails, nail discoloration, dead nail tissue, and the nail becoming loose from the nail bed. 

The nail’s open area due to separation can have white regions when it is separated from the nail bed underneath. Some fungal and bacterial nail infections cause the appearance of a dark discoloration that is green or brown and can also lead to nail loosening.



The second most common reason for the nail becoming loose is trauma. A common cause is a drop of an object on the top of the toe. Sometimes, blunt force injury can cause excessive bleeding below the Nail, generating enough pressure to break the nail. In some cases, it causes the nail to fall off entirely immediately following.

Since the bone at the tip of the toe, also known as the distal phalanx, is located close to the nail, the trauma of a toe may result in a bone fracture. It is recommended to seek medical treatment to treat nail injuries, especially in bleeding underneath the nail.



Another reason that may cause the toenail to become loose is repeated injury from shoes. People usually call this “black toenail”. It can be associated with endurance sports like running, walking, or hiking for hours at a time, and it is also common in people who wear shoes too small for their feet over time.

If there is any injury to the nail, the blood that accumulates under the nail can cause a red or black discoloration. A subungual hemorrhage is bleeding from the toenail. Most often, you’ll end up losing the toenail as it grows.


Other Reasons for a Loose Nail 

Other causes are:

  • Allergic reaction to products from pedicures
  • Psoriasis
  • Photosensitivity response in response to the medication
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Anemia


A visit to a dermatologist, podiatrist, or another medical specialist for loose toenails could require diagnostic testing if needed like laboratory tests. The most typical cause for loose toenails is called onychomycosis, and treatment can involve removing areas of the nail that are loose and perhaps antifungal medications (topical or oral).

Bacterial diseases of the nail tend to be more severe and can progress faster than fungal infections.

Whatever the reason for the nail loosening, it’s recommended to seek medical attention to minimize the chance of complications resulting from the bacterial infection.


Do You Think the Nail Will Grow Back? 

The most frequent question that people ask when losing a nail or a portion of it is whether or not the nail will grow. The nail bed that is exposed will usually be healed within a couple of weeks. In most cases, the nail will usually grow. It is an extremely long process that could last between 12 and 18 months.

Another question is whether or not the new nail will develop normally. When the nail matrix (growth center) is damaged, regardless of whether it’s due to injury or inflammation due to an infection, permanent changes in the growth of the nail are common. These changes could be as subtle as bumpy surfaces on the surface of the nail.

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