Nail problems aren't usually caused by anything serious. Common nail problems include brittle, loose nails that may change colour or shape.
It's normal for nails to:
Fingernails that fall off after an injury should grow back within 6 months. Toenails can take up to 18 months.
There are some things you can do to help with common nail problems.
wear rubber gloves if your hands are often in water or you regularly use cleaning products
clean your nails with a soft nailbrush
regularly apply hand cream to your nails and fingertips
regularly trim your nails – it may help to cut nails after a shower or bath
cut injured, loose nails back to where they are still attached – this helps them to grow back normally
do not cut your nails down the edges – trim straight across the top to help avoid an ingrown toenail
do not clean under your nails with sharp objects
do not wear shoes that pinch your toes, especially when exercising
do not bite or pick your nails or the skin around them
do not ignore fungal infections on your skin – such as athlete's foot
Some GPs may be able to refer you for podiatry. You can also pay to see a podiatrist privately.
Most nail problems are caused by:
Nail problems can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious or long-term condition, such as:
But don't self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.
Some medicines can also cause nail problems. Check the side effects of any medicine you're taking.