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Onychoptosis is the medical name for the toenail falling off. Two culprits can cause this common problem and those are injury and fungal infection of the toe. Discoloring of the toenail will precede the falling off in any case and according to the color, the cause of the problem can be detected.

Fungal Infection

Toenail affected by the fungal infection is called onychomycosis and the cause of it is bacteria. This very contagious infection can affect one toenail, or it can even expand to several. The area at the nail's top is where the infection begins and then it expands to the rest of the nail. This can result in swelling and pain. Next is the alteration of the color of the nail, which can sometimes become white, sometimes brown or it can become yellow. As the problem advances, the toenail will develop bad smell and it will become thick. Severe infection also causes splitting and crumbling of the toenail before it falls off at the end.


Injury of the toenail can occur in many different ways and scenarios. Injury can be a result of the ill-fitting shoes or the pressure on the toes while running, which occurs commonly among the athletes. The name subungal hematoma is used for the injury that has damaged the nail bed, thus making the nail fall off. The painful problem occurs when the toenail is detached from the nail bed. At the end, the toenail will fall off, but before this happens, the toenail will become bluish black or black in color.


Fungal infection has to be eliminated completely since otherwise it can expand to other toenails. A podiatrist should be seen if the pain is great, and you will get medications that will help with the inflammation and the pain. Cause of the problem will have to be treated as well, so you will have to use anti-fungal cream and oral medications if the fungal infection is the cause. In very serious cases, this treatment will prove ineffective and surgery will have to be done. Fluid may gather under the nail if the cause of the problem is injury and this fluid will have to be drained by the doctor once the pain reduces, which will eliminate the swelling and the pain. Treatment can also be done at home and one of the remedies you can use is tea tree oil, which has to be rubbed. Use the diluted oil for the duration of two weeks and apply it two times a day.

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