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Why Fingernails Grow Faster Than Toenails

We have fingernails because they help to protect us from viruses and bacteria. But one question still remains: why do toenails grow much slower than fingernails? Scientists don’t like mysteries and studied this topic to get some answers.

We at Bright Side decided to find out the reason behind this simple question and discovered some different theories. Plus, there’s a curious bonus feature waiting for you at the end.

Toenails have less circulation.

The cells in our bodies need certain things to grow, like energy, nutrients, and circulation. So, these factors may be the main reason for this slow growth. Yes, fingernails and toenails are part of our body but we treat them differently. We don’t wear shoes or socks on our hands so they can breathe more than toes and get more circulation.

Moreover, there’s one more significant factor. Our hands are located much closer to our hearts. Because of this, less blood flow reaches our feet. This means that they get less oxygen for the production of new cells. And as a result, our toenails grow slowly. It could be an explanation of why they grow slower in the winter. The colder it is, the slower blood flow we have.

Toenails get fewer nutrients.

One more factor for growing is nutrients. Some of us may notice that when we start consuming more healthy nutrients, the nails and hair start growing faster. Basically, the same idea applies to toenails. As soon as our body circulation in the feet is less, the toenails get fewer nutrients.

Normally, due to these factors, your fingernails grow, on average, 0.13 inches per month (3.47 mm) or about a tenth of a millimeter per day. And the average growth of toenails is 0.06 inches per month (1.62 mm).

Toenails are less traumatized.

One more explanation is the tendency of getting traumatized. This is a recent theory and it complements all the others. Try to remember how often you’ve hurt your fingers and nails. You may bang them or traumatize them during a manicure. Then the repair process begins at a concentrated rate of cell turnover.

We may get micro-traumas on our fingernails more often than our toenails. And the repair process also affects faster growth.

Bonus: curious facts about nails

  • It was found that men generally have faster nail growth but there is one exception. Women’s nails grow faster during pregnancy.
  • Also, one study found that the fingernail on your little finger grows slower than the others.
  • If you’re right-handed, your nails on that hand grow faster than on your left and vice versa. It happens because that hand is more active.

How often do you get manicures in comparison to pedicures? Do you prefer to do it yourself or go to a professional?