galfieri: *We aren’t sure.*
Here are two good theories:
1. Blood circulation is better in the fingers, feeding nail growth. Compare this to your feet, which are given the short stick in regards to blood supply in the body.
2. “Terminal trauma” — meaning the more you use a digit, the more your body assumes it needs to grow, because the nail is being worn down quickly.
cocoyumi: That’s strange, my toenails grow much faster (and are strong whereas my fingernails are brittle)
GLaDOS_Sympathizer: In the animalistic sense, you would use your hands more than your feet for digging and fighting, thus your nails on your hands would get more use and need to grow faster for survival purposes. They are like really lame claws. They’re practically vestigial now.
CrossP: One possible factor is that frequent friction inside shoes puts more wear on toenails resulting in less frequent need for trimming.
fuckcombustion: Studies have found that your fingers absorb more calcium than your toes. This leads to nail growth.
UnOfficialPanda: Your fingers are much more sensitive and are constantly touching things which stimulates faster growth compared to your toes which just kinda sit in your shoes all day and don’t really get much situation and reason to grow. Also because your fingers are touching more things, they may wear down faster so it was needed to grow back faster.
drew8080: I always assumed it was because your toe nails are constantly pushed back and wrapped up by socks and shoes while your finger nails are open and unimpeded from growing
NWCtim: From an evolutionary standpoint, nails, or claws on a creature’s forelimbs are more commonly used for digging, as weapons, or other tools, in addition to traction, while rear limb claws/nails would only be regularly used for traction. Thus they would wear faster, and need to grow faster. From personal experience, I know that my cat’s claws grow this way.
That human nails exhibit this same growth behavior is likely an ‘evolutionary holdover’, though I’m sure it’s still been a useful trait for a significant part of human history.
maggiegraves88: Fingernails are closer to the heart. Gets better oxygen blood supply. The toes are the most distal from the heart.
danmilligan: Followup question: Why do my ring finger nails grow faster than the other fingers?
ShmediumLebowski: Vitamin D is a contributor to nail growth and strength. Your body produces more vitamin D with more sunlight. Just a theory, but maybe since your hands spend less time covered like your toes and are exposed to sunlight more often, might be a reason?
Or just because one are covered and the others arent means nothing if your body produces vitamin D and distributes evenly….so who knows
tipsygrape: I’ve been running for about 3 years or so, and I’ve noticed that my toe nails barely grow now. Just a thought.
jordangoretro: I just finished clipping my toe nails and came here to ask this question. Thanks for being telepathically linked to me and already asking.
My understanding is that there’s no hard evidence. So my theory is the fingernails wear more, and grow more to compensate. Toes sit in socks and shoes all day and just chill.
omphalos008: Your nails grow in proportion to the length of the digit to which they are attached (i.e., the nail on your middle finger grows faster than the nail on your thumb which in turn grows faster than the nail on your pinky toe). As for the exact reason why that is the case I’m not sure we know the answer.
jimenace: I got a pedicure a couple months ago and there’s still 3/4s worth of paint/polish on my big toes whereas the rest of the piggies had none over a month ago. What gives – out of the norm for the captains with slower growth than t’others?
letsshow: Because typically people wash their hands more than feet. The water is a medium for hair and nail growth
thommyjohnst: Because they’re out in the sunlight more. Ever noticed how fast your nails grow abroad?