When comparing the growth of fingernails or toenails, it has been found that fingernails grow at a rate of 1.2 inches (3.6 cm) per year, which is about three times as fast as toenails. It is estimated to take fingernails about six months to re-grow completely, and toenails take 12-18 months. It is thought that fingernails grow faster perhaps because they are closer to the heart and receive better blood circulation or because they are more susceptible to trauma, which might actually encourage growth. Not all fingernails grow at the same rate. The nails on the dominant hand tend to grow faster, with the middle finger's nail growing the most quickly, although it is not known why.
More about nail growth:
- A common myth is that nails continue to grow after death, but they actually just decompose at a slower rate than other tissues, which can make them appear to grow longer.
- Some serious health conditions, including heart valve infections and lung diseases, often show their first symptoms by changing the appearance of the nails.
- Nail growth typically is faster than normal in pregnant women but slower than average in women who are breastfeeding.