Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What happens if you lose a fingernail?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat happens if you lose a fingernail?


Does a fingernail just grow back on its own after it falls off. Banged my finger really hard and the nail turned black then fell off. Don't know if I should see a doctor or if the nail will just grow back on its own.


I am sorry to hear that you banged your finger and lost your fingernail! Fortunately, in most cases, the fingernail will grow back on its own. Fingernails grow from the nail matrix, which is a specialized group of cells that are located deep under the cuticle area of the fingernail. These cells produce the new nail material slowly, but you should begin to notice that a new nail is slowly growing in. The rate at which new nails grow is highly individualized, but it often does take several weeks at least for the new nail to grow in completely. Assuming you did not due any damage to the nail matrix when you banged your finger, the nail should grow in normally and look just like new. Occasionally, if there has been damage or scarring of the nail matrix from the injury, the nail may grow in bumpy or otherwise deformed, but there is not much you can do about this. As always, this is a question you should discuss with your primary care doctor - especially f you have significant pain, or if you do not think that the new nail is growing in as it should.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.