Medical and Science

Why Do Fingernails Grow Faster than Toenails

Teen Lock-In by San José Library, on Flickr
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Now I know I’m not the only one that has had this thought cross their minds. The human body is quite an interesting specimen with all it’s genetics and intense structure to cells and what not. So it got me to thinking, why do our toenails grow slower than our fingernails.


There are many rumors or ideas if you will, on why this happens and we’ll go over most of them here. I’ve began to think this is something we’ll truly never know the answer to, but it’s quite fun to speculate. I read somewhere that fingernails grow nearly four times faster than toenails. Now I’m not exactly sure how that figure was conjured up, but I guess it’s better than nothing.


I actually had to cut my fingernails just the other day, and it seems like within a week to a week and a half, I have to revisit the clippers once again. It gets rather tiresome actually, but what are you gonna do? Usually I let my toenails grow a bit longer than my fingernails mainly because they usually aren’t seen. So if they aren’t causing me to trip or anything like that, then I’ll put it off until I get sick of looking at them. But in all actuality I probably only have to cut my toenails like once a month.


Some Facts about Nails

I’ve been doing some research of course and come up with some pretty interesting thoughts on the subject. Of course which I’ll share with my readers…


First off, the main thing to keep in mind is that nail growth is different for everyone. Not all nails are equal and everyone may grow theirs at different rates. Age has is a big factor as far as growth rate. It’s said that kids’ nails will grow quite quickly until they reach puberty, then the growth rate decreases to 50% of what it was.


259 of 366 by Pam loves pie, on Flickr
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Often times, pregnant women may see an increase in the growth rate of their nails, mainly due to hormones and metabolism. So that’s kind of a double whammy, you’ve got the mother with her nails sprouting, then there’s the kid she’s carrying, and his are shooting out there too. lol, ok, I’m weird, I guess the kids nails probably aren’t a factor that early in the game. Anyway, let’s move on…


According to statistics, fingernails grow at a rate of about 0.01/in a day. Now this is on average, but it’s said that the nail on the longest finger will outgrow the rest of your fingers. So try an experiment with yourself and test some of these theories, it would be interesting to see the results.


Comparing Toenails to Fingernails

Now let’s take a look at some of the comparisons between fingernails and toenails. Now like we discussed earlier, all this can vary between people and most of these are just general ideas and some thoughts that I have on the subject. So don’t take all this as fact, it’s more of a brain storm if you will.



It is said that toenails and fingernails alike will grow slower during the winter than they do in the summer. To me this sounds kind of like a hibernation scenario. It’s well known knowledge that things slow down when it’s cold, even in nature growth rates are reduced and bears go into caves. So this is really no surprise and sounds pretty reasonable.

A Rumor

I’ve actually heard the rumor that toenails grow faster than fingernails due to some bizarre reasoning such as our shoes keep them rubbed down or they break off in the shower etc. Now I really don’t believe all that, cos let me tell you, my toenails are like iron, they aren’t going to break off in the shower I promise you. Plus my shoes definitely aren’t strong enough to tackle the job, so I’m kind of throwing this theory out the window.


I do believe however that nutrition could play a big role in this. I may be way off on this, but seems like the upper part of your body where all the organs and goodies are, would absorb most of the nutrition that your body takes in. So the toenails growth could be suffering from not getting its fair share. This would certainly make them grow slower than their fingernail siblings.


Now here’s a strange concept, you’ll have to read carefully to understand this twisted thought. But maybe, just maybe, it’s a trick your body is playing on itself. Here’s what I mean… Your feet get more blood flow due to gravity, so this means your hands may get less blood flow. This may cause your body to react as though it’s saving your hands by accelerating the growth of the fingernails. If the body thinks your fingernails are deficient, then it may revert more resources which would cause the fingernails to grow faster. Not sure how much sense that makes, but it’s just an odd thought.

Dominant Digits

One final thought on this… Research shows that the nails on the dominant hand or

IMG_1215 by Neeta Lind, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  Neeta Lind

foot will grow faster than the lesser. So if you’re right handed, then the nails on your right hand should grow faster than the left. So this kind of leads me to believe, if in fact that is true, that it makes perfect sense. Seeing how you do more work on your dominant side and the nails are growing faster, wouldn’t that mean it’s replacing the wear? After all we have nails to protect our digits, so maybe that is the one true cause.

Since we do more work with our hands than our feet, this is probably why the nails grow faster on our hands. Some also say that the nail on the big toe grows faster than the others due to its extra duty of keeping our balance. But in the end, medical professionals state a fingernail may grow back completely within six months, where it would take a toenail nearly a year to do so. Now I’m sure some of the other factors we discussed play a big role in this as well, but the idea of replacing the wear seems most logical.


So if anyone has done any experimenting or would like to share a gruesome nail story with us, please feel free and take advantage of the comment area. I love to hear what others have to say…

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10 thoughts on “Why Do Fingernails Grow Faster than Toenails
  1. Your knowledge is really unique. I salute by heart. I have read many articles but never read like your blog.

    1. Thanks you NCrypted, that really means a lot, I do cater some unusual information, but that’s the fun in it, to learn something out of the ordinary.

  2. Wow, I never really did know why my toenails and finger nails grew at different rates till now. Very good information, and I do agree that Nutrition plays a big role in this. There’s a lot of vitamins that can be taken to promote health nails.

    1. Very good point, the massive amounts of supplements that are available to strengthen nails has to be a sign that nutrients play a big role in their growth rate.

      I think it’s safe to say the body will distribute those nutrients to areas of the body in order of importance.

  3. It never crossed my mind to check why fingernails grow faster than toenails , but it turned out that it is interesting , thanks for the infos mate 😉

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article Valerie. I was clipping my fingernails and checked my toenails and realized it had been a while since I’d clipped them. So this got me to pondering the reasons why, the human body is quite an interesting mystery.

  4. Well, well, well you learn something new everyday, I just thought if this and then did a search and came across your page, thanks for the info

    1. You’re quite welcome, the human body is full of many crazy mysteries, I found myself wondering why I had to clip my fingernails so often and not my toenails. So the pondering began, I’m glad it’s become useful.

  5. Great! Very interesting post Robert! Thanks for giving us information. I am always very curious to know why my fingernails grow faster then my toenails , I was thinking that only I am suffering from this problem, but after reading your blog my all worries regarding this remove and now finally I get the answer of my curiosity.
    Thanks for removing my worries.
    keep writing as I find your post very interesting and informative , everytime I get a chance to know something new.
    Thanks once again Robert.

    1. Thanks Peter, This is something that has always bothered me. I hate the fact I have to clip my fingernails several times within a month, but then my toenails never seem to grow. But after doing my research I feel a little better about it myself. 🙂

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