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Top Reasons Why Your Toenail Has Stopped Growing

Top Reasons Why Your Toenail Stopped Growing

Top Reasons Why Your Toenail Stopped Growing

If you haven't had to trim your toenails for a few months, their growth may have slowed or stopped entirely. This could be your body's way of alerting you that your toenail stopped growing because of an underlying health problem. Ten common causes are listed below.

1. A Toenail Injury

A toenail injury, such as a broken or ingrown toenail, may cause your nails to grow slowly or stop doing so altogether. For example, it is quite common for one or more toenails to stop growing after a toe or foot injury, often for four or more months. While the causes of slow toenail growth can vary greatly, a high number of these cases are the result of repetitive trauma to the nail.

2. Poor Circulation

Poor circulation, often caused by diabetes or anemia, may be responsible for the lack of toenail growth. This is because proper circulation in your legs and feet is required for your toenails to develop at a healthy rate. Arterial blockages can result in a variety of symptoms, including slow toenail growth. This is because a lack of oxygen and nutrients in the nails can cause them to grow very slowly or stop growing altogether.

3. Infection

A common cause of toenail problems is an infection in the toenail bed or underlying tissue caused by bacteria, fungus, or yeast. Athlete's foot is one type of fungal infection that could be contributing to your toenail growth problems.

Toenail fungus can cause your nails to become brittle and crumbly, and they may appear to stop growing. You could lose your toenail due to an infection. The rate at which most nails regrow varies from person to person. The nail may take several months or a year to regrow.

4. Ill-fitting Shoes

When toes are crammed into shoes, they are more likely to develop ingrown toenails. When a jagged-edged or too-short nail is pushed into the skin around the nail, it can begin to grow into the skin. Ingrown toenails are excruciatingly painful and can cause infection.

Wearing too tight-fitting shoes can also cause toe deformation, leading to the restriction of proper nail growth. Wearing properly fitted shoes and keeping your toes trimmed straight across and not too short can help you avoid an ingrown toenail.

Toenail trauma may result from ill-fitting shoes

Toenail trauma may result from ill-fitting shoes

5. Calcium Deficiency

A lack of essential nutrients for nail growth, such as calcium, may be to blame for why your toenail stopped growing. According to one study, virtually every nutritional deficiency can affect nail growth in some way. While calcium is widely known to be beneficial for strong nails and bones, it is pertinent to note that not everyone who has slow nail growth has a calcium deficiency.

6. Psoriasis and Eczema

Systemic diseases such as psoriasis and eczema can inhibit toenail growth. The appearance of your toes and fingernails is impacted by nail psoriasis. They can thicken, develop small holes, and change color or shape. They can also be sensitive and painful.

There are many treatments available if you have psoriasis and notice changes in your nails, such as vitamin D analog cream. Ointments are typically rubbed into the nail bed, which supports the nail, or at the nail folds, which tuck around the edges. Better nail growth may result from soothing these tissues with such creams.

7. Kidney or Liver Disease

Kidney or liver disease interferes with the metabolism of essential minerals and vitamins needed for healthy nail growth. Kidney disease can have an impact on the appearance of your fingernails, toes, or both. White color on the upper part of one or more nails and a normal to reddish brown color can occur in people with advanced kidney disease.

8. Zinc Deficiency

Zinc helps proteins in the body grow and stay strong. This includes the proteins found in fingernails and toenails. According to one study, a lack of zinc reduces the rate of nail growth and causes the nails to become fragile and brittle, causing them to crack.

If zinc levels in the body are particularly low, it may give the impression that a toenail stopped growing entirely. In severe cases of zinc deficiency, a person may even lose all of their nails.

9. Chemotherapy

Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation frequently wonder why their toenails stopped growing. This is because nails experience trauma by becoming weak and brittle during chemotherapy.

They may also separate from the connective tissue that holds the nails in place (onycholysis). The nails may even fall off after several rounds of treatment. Some chemotherapy medications, such as taxanes (Taxol and Taxotere), are more likely to cause nail loss than others.

10. Aging

Aging, which reduces natural nail production, frequently results in brittle, cracked nails that grow slowly or not at all. Toenails grow at a rate of about 1 mm per month on average, but that rate slows down year after year as people age.

This frequently gives the impression to elderly people that their fingernails and toenails have stopped growing. Furthermore, as nails age, they lose their smoothness, making them more prone to splitting, crumbling, or forming ridges.

Take care of your toenails and keep them well trimmed

Take care of your toenails and keep them well trimmed

What to Do If Your Toenail Has Stopped Growing

As we've learned, an injury, poorly fitting shoes, chemotherapy, vitamin or mineral deficiency, or another health issue can cause your nails to grow slowly or stop growing altogether.

Infections can be avoided by taking good care of your nails by keeping them clean and well-trimmed. Here are a few things you can do to take care of your toenails and help encourage new growth:

  • Soaking your toes in warm water with salt for at least 10 minutes can be beneficial. This softens the toenails, which may be helpful if they have become brittle. Use this method three to four times daily.
  • After soaking, always completely dry your feet.
  • Trim your toenails using high-quality, sharp scissors. To avoid ingrowing toenails, cut them straight across.
  • If you suspect a fungal infection, apply an antifungal cream.
  • It is critical to wear comfortable shoes with enough room for your toes to avoid unnecessary friction.
  • Take health supplements like calcium and zinc to promote healthy, strong nails.
  • Be patient. It typically takes 12–18 months for a toenail to grow fully.

Consult your dermatologist or primary care physician if you can't think of any other reason why your toenail stopped growing. Nails usually grow normally after the underlying cause is identified and eliminated.


  • Nutrition and nail disease
    Cashman MW, Sloan SB. Nutrition and nail disease. Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):420-5. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.037. PMID: 20620759.
  • Zinc Deficiency
    Betsy, A., Binitha, M., & Sarita, S. (2013). Zinc Deficiency Associated with Hypothyroidism: An Overlooked Cause of Severe Alopecia. International Journal of Trichology, 5(1), 40-42.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Louise Fiolek