Feet are often the most neglected parts of the body.
While most of us enjoy trying different kinds of facials masks and make frequent trips to the nail salon to get our fingernails done, we tend to forget that the feet also require care, especially the toenails.
It is important to understand that your toenails are more sensitive than you may have imagined and caring for them is essential.
But, what is the purpose of toenails and why is it important to keep your toenails in optimal health? Let’s find out!
What Is The Purpose Of Toenails?
If you have ever lost a toenail, you probably already know the importance of keeping your toenails healthy.
Toenails are extremely crucial to your foot health as they serve the important purpose of protecting your toes.
They are made of a hard protein, keratin, and act as a protective layer. It is also suggested that toenails enhance sensation in the toes.
From an evolutionary point of view, toenails can be considered as the flat version of claws.
They keep your toes from getting scraped or cut as you perform your daily activities.
However, over the centuries, the biological need for nails has diminished as they are not necessary for survival.
Nevertheless, it can be excruciatingly painful to lose a toenail.
Can Toenails Fall Off?
Yes, lack of foot care or an injury or trauma to the nail can cause it to fall off.
Once the toenail is damaged, simple acts, like putting on shoes or walking, can become a trial. The pain can range from mild to excruciating, depending on the condition.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why your toenail may fall off.
· Toenail Infections
Toenail fungal infections are quite common. Fungi grow in warm and moist environments.
Unfortunately, our toenails fit the description and provide an ideal growing environment for fungi to grow.
Symptoms of a toenail infection include discoloration or disfiguration of nails. They may also turn brittle and crumble.
When left untreated, an infection can detach the nail plate from the nail bed. As a result, your nail may fall off!
· Injury Or Trauma To The Nail
External injury or trauma, like dropping a heavy object on the nail or stubbing it in a wall can cause the toenail or part of it to come off.
The toenail is likely to turn blue as blood gathers underneath it, increasing pressure. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for the nail to fall off.
· Underlying Health Conditions
Underlying health conditions, like psoriasis, can detach your nail from the skin.
While most cases of nail psoriasis are only mild, the excessive cell buildup in the nail bed can cause the nail to fall off.
Some symptoms of toenail psoriasis include thickening of the nail, discoloration, disfiguration, and appearance of pits and chalky buildup underneath the nail.
· Mile Training Or Running Excessively
Believe it or not – it is possible to lose a toenail by logging of miles in training.
As you walk or run, the repetitive action of the shoe hitting the toe can cause the toenail to detach.
Avid runners and people who run in ill-fitting shoes often face this problem.
Once a toenail falls off, there is no way of attaching it back. However, you can manage pain and ward off infections through medications.
Depending on why your toenail fell off and how well you take care of it, it can take up to two years for the toenail to grow back.
How To Keep Your Toenail From Falling Off
Now that you know the answer to “what is the purpose of toenails”, let’s take a look at what you can do to keep your toenails in optimal health and make sure they don’t fall off.
Scroll down to read some easy-to-follow tips that will ensure your toenails remain in good health.
- Trim Your Toenails:The longer the toenail, the greater the chance of it getting damaged. Moreover, longer toenails are at a higher risk of developing infections as bacteria can accumulate under them. So, an easy way to avoid infections and toenail damage is to keep the nails trimmed. Cut them straight across to keep them healthy.
- Keep Your Feet Clean: This one’s a no brainer. Keep your feet clean to keep them healthy. Wash them daily with soap and water to remove any dirt or sweat. This will also keep your feet from smelling.
- Wear Proper Shoes:Walking in ill-fitted shoes can damage the toenail. This makes it essential to make sure that your shoes fit properly. Also, wear socks to avoid sweating excessively in the shoes. It is best to opt for socks made of synthetic materials instead of cotton ones that retain moisture.
- Wear Shoes In Public Facilities: Showering areas in public facilities like the gym or pool can spread fungi. Walking barefoot can lead to toenail fungal infections that can cause multiple problems. So, avoid going around barefoot in public places and always keep shower shoes with you when you visit the pool or gym.
- Try Foot Soaks: A foot soak can do wonders when it comes to ensuring the optimal foot health. Moreover, soaking your feet in warm water has a soothing effect and can help you relax after a long day. There are various types of foot soaks that you can try at home to nourish, moisturize, and exfoliate your feet. Some common ingredients that you may want to include in your foot soak are Epsom salt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
Are you still wondering, “what is the purpose of toenails?” Well, the simple answer is that they exist to protect your toes from external injuries like cuts and scrapes.
If not cared for properly, your toenails can fall off for various reasons.
Keep in mind that it can be an extremely painful experience, which is why it is essential to keep your toenails in good health.
Follow the above-mentioned tips to make sure your toenails get the attention that they deserve and stay clean and healthy!
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