Treating torn or separated nails can be frustrating. Your nails grow at a rate of about 0.004 inches (0.1 millimeters) per day -- it can take as long as six months for a nail to completely grow back [source: Mayo Clinic]. You can apply a nail hardener to keep your nails strong and help them grow faster, but you should avoid nail products that contain toluene sulfonamide, formaldehyde, alcohol, acetone or dibutyl phthalate -- these chemicals can make your nails weaker rather than stronger [source: Mayo Clinic].
While regrowing your nails, you can take some simple steps to keep them healthy and prevent future nail injuries. First, wear shoes that don't constrict your toenails -- they should be wide enough for your toes to wiggle around. Second, keep your nails neat and trim them often -- long nails are more likely to get caught and tear. Also, avoid biting and nibbling at your nails because this can increase the likelihood of tearing as well [source: Aetna InteliHealth].
You can also keep your nails healthy by moisturizing them with lotions and creams that contain humectants such as urea, phospholipids and lactic acid. Humectants retain moisture in your nails, helping prevent them from cracking. If you have torn or separated fingernails, wear gloves when washing dishes and cleaning to reduce the possibility of infection [source: Mayo Clinic].
Keeping your nails neat and healthy will reduce the likelihood of tearing them and separating them from the nail bed. For more information on treating torn nails, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Aetna InteliHealth. "Nail Trauma." (Accessed 10/02/09)http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH?t=25971&p=~br,IHW|~st,-1|~r,WSIHW000|~b,*|
- Bruno, Karen. "Women's Hand and Nail Care." WebMD. (Accessed 10/02/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/strong-nails-hands?page=2
- Mayo Clinic. "Nails: How to Keep Your Fingernails Healthy and Strong." November 30, 2007 (Accessed 10/02/09)http://mayoclinic.com/health/nails/WO00020
- New Zealand Dermatological Society. "Nail Psoriasis." (Accessed 10/02/09)http://dermnetnz.org/scaly/nail-psoriasis.html
- Rauh, Sherry. "Healthy Fingernails: Clues About Your Health." WebMD. (Accessed 10/02/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/healthy-fingernails-clues-about-health
- Rouzier, Pierre. "Toenail Injuries." University of Michigan Sports Medicine Advisor. (Accessed 10/02/09) http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/sma/sma_toenail_sma.htm
- Van Houten, Susan. "Nail that Has Torn or Separated from Nail Bed." Revolution Health. (Accessed 10/02/09)http://www.revolutionhealth.com/articles/nail-that-has-torn-or-separated-from-nail-bed/sig256776