Can a Nail Grow Under Another Nail?

Yes. Sometimes conditions such as infections, trauma, or tight-fitting shoes can cause a nail to grow under another nail. The infections are usually of fungal origin such as Toenail fungus. It usually occurs in the big toenails.

If you have a nail that has had its growth interrupted by infection or severe trauma, it may detach from the nail bed, and the nail could theoretically resume growth “under” the detached nail. However, there would most likely be pus or other gross stuff under the detached nail, so it should be removed and the regrowing nail allowed to continue growing.

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As the new nail grows, it will separate the old nail from the nail bed. This will detach the old nail from proximal to distal without causing discomfort. The old nail may not detach completely; it may separate in most regions but stay partially linked to the nail bed in others. You’ll need to clip as much of the old nail as you can until the separation is complete so you can put your socks on and off. After a good soak in warm water, it’s much easier to remove old nails.

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Why Do I Have a Nail Growing Under My Nail?

A new nail might start growing under your old nail if the growth of the old nail becomes interrupted by an infection or severe trauma. The infection or trauma causes the old nail to detach from the nail bed (where it gets its nutrient from) and then a new nail would start growing under the detached nail. As the new nail grows, it will keep separating the old nail from the nail bed until it eventually falls off. It’s up to you to remove the old nail by clipping in order to give more room for the new nail to grow properly. You can consult your doctor if you notice anything unusual.

nail growing under another nail
Nail growing under another nail

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Can a New Toenail Grow Under Another?

Yes! a new toenail can grow under another toenail. Just like I said before, infection or trauma can affect a toenail and detach it from the nail bed. Once the nail is detached, a new toenail will start to grow under the old nail. As it grows, it keeps pushing the old toenail out until it falls off and gives more room for the new to grow properly.

How Long Does It Take For Big Toenail To Grow Back Completely

The big toenail takes between 16 to 18 months to completely grow back after being damaged depending on age and diet. Some people may not have a proper toenail at the end of the day. It would be beneficial to take vitamins that promote nail growth and health.

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On the other hand, our fingernails develop three times as quickly as our toenails. Fingernails take approximately 6 months to grow back completely.

Fingernails grow at a pace of 3.5 or 3.6 mm per month on average, while toenails grow at 1.6 or 1.7 mm per month on average (avg). However, this can vary depending on our age and diet.

The medical information provided in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


A nail (usually a toenail) can grow under another nail. It is usually caused by infections, trauma, or by wearing tight-fitting shoes for long. The new nail will separate the old nail from the nail bed as it grows. This will eventually detach the old nail from the toe with causing discomfort.

The big toenail takes a maximum of 18 months to grow back completely while the fingernail takes about 6 months. Always keep the affected toe or finger clean to enable the nail to grow properly.

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