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I find that my friend recently had a toe nail peeled off and the other leg's big toe nail is also about to peel off.
He asked me why does it peel off, for which I didn't have any answer.
Also the long distant cyclist have this complaint. Their toe nails peel off after a very long trip.

Why do they peel off?
What are the precautionary steps that can be taken?

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Impact and/or poor fit. Sarge has it right. – JohnP Jan 23 '14 at 22:20

The problem is that the toe nail is too long and the toe box of the shoe is too small. This means that the nail is constantly banged into the wall of the shoe. This physical trauma eventually causes the nailbed to lose adhesion with the nail and the nail will fall off.


  1. Make sure that your shoes fit and that the toe box is roomy enough for your toes without being so large that your foot moves around too much inside the shoe.
  2. Keep your toe nails short - the edge of the toe nail should not hang over the toe. Then use a nail file and file your toe nails so there are no rough edges hanging out to catch on socks. You file in the direction of the toe from the top.

For all the information you ever wanted to know about foot care for long-distance athletic events read Fixing your Feet by Jon Vonhof.

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