Onycholysis is when the toenail lifts or separates from the nail bed. It can be unsightly and sometimes painful. The most common cause for the toenail to separate is trauma. It can also be caused by an underlying health condition. This usually happens gradually. If it is due to trauma, it can be painful. If it is due to an underlying health condition, you may not feel any pain.

When the nail detaches itself from the nail bed, you are at risk of infection. The skin under the nail is delicate and vulnerable. An infection could lead to a more serious problem and spread to other areas. 

Causes of Nail Bed Separation:

  • Trauma – this is the most common cause of nails detaching from the nail bed. There are two types of trauma that cause this problem. The first one is Acute trauma. This happens when the nail is injured over and over again. This common in athletes, especially runners. Another type is blunt trauma. This is when you drop something heavy on your toe or banging it against something. This causes the nail to tear away from the nail bed.
  • Acrylic Nails – wearing fake or acrylic nails harms the nail bed with the chemical and glues used. The nail technician may misapply the glue or apply too much and cause damage to the toenail. The chemicals used can also trigger an allergic reaction and damage the nail bed. If you get acrylic nails often and wear them for long periods of time, your nails don’t get the chance to breathe. This will make it easy for moisture to be trapped underneath the nail bed and cause a fungal infection.
  • Toenail Fungus – If you have a fungal infection, debris can build up underneath the toenail. This will create pressure pushing the toenail away from the nail bed. If left untreated, it gets worse and the nail may eventually fall off.

If you have toenail fungus or it’s symptoms, contact us to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our doctors. We have over 106 clinics nationwide, including Gaithersburg, MD.