Toenails usually grow at a slower rate than fingernails, and there are many things that have the ability to affect their rate of growth and make it even slower. Among them are infections, injuries, and age. Additionally, some people just seem to have faster toenail growth in comparison to others. Sometimes a person may want his nails to grow faster, such as when one falls off due to infection. Increased levels of certain hormones may have this effect, but there aren't any proven methods for hastening growth.
Many people note a discrepancy between the rate of their fingernail growth and that of their toenails. If a person injures his fingernail versus a toenail, the toenail can take twice or even three times as long to grow back. The fingernail may take up to half a year to grow back while toenails usually require about a year or even a year and a half of regrowth time. This may be because fingernails typically get a better supply of blood than toenails.
Infections can influence toenail growth. Fungal infections of the toenail are fairly common and result in nails that become thickened and discolored. Such infections often cause the nails to grow at a significantly reduced rate. Sometimes bacterial infection of the toenails can also affect their growth.
Often, injuries are responsible for slower-than-normal nail growth. An injury can cause this issue if it affects just the nail or the entire toe. Likewise, some people notice slower-than-normal toenail growth when they have ingrown toenails. This condition is marked by toenails that curve in towards the nail bed. It is usually painful and can require medical treatment and steps to prevent infection.
The rate at which a person’s toenails grow also depends on his or her age. As people get older, their nails often become weaker and more brittle, which can slow their growth rate. Even healthy toenails may grow slower in an older person in comparison to the nails of a younger adult or child.
There aren’t many things that cause a person’s toenails to grow at a faster rate. Hormones, however, can sometimes cause these nails to grow faster. Sometimes people with high levels of thyroid hormone in their bodies note that their nails grow at a faster rate. Pregnant women, who typically deal with increasing levels of hormones like estrogen, may experience this effect as well. Additionally, adequate nutrition can lead to good overall health and help ensure normal toenail growth rates.