Maybe a month or a month and a half ago I dropped a full can of soda on my big toe almost where the cuticle meets the toenail. The part of the toenail where it got hit turned all black. I wasn't too worried about it until about 2 weeks ago I noticed that the toenail was separating from the cuticle at the base of the toenail. It's started to separate more and more. It's really hard to see, but it doesn't look like a toenail is growing under it. Is this how a toenail normally falls off? Will it grow back? Should I see a doctor? I normally wear open toed shoes, so should I be worried about infection? If the toenail isn't going to grow back is there anything a doctor can do about it?
Toenails grow slower than fingernails and can take from 6-12 months to totally replace itself from root to free edge. The nail has separated at the cuticle since that is where you dropped the soda and damaged the nail. Since you 'hurt' the matrix (where the nail plate cells are born), it will take a while before it begins to produce new cells. When it does, they may be damaged, but as they heal, the nail will return to normal. 2 months is not enough time for it to begin to grow normally. In the meantime, keep it clean and dry and apply a drop or two of peroxide to it daily for the first several weeks to kill any infection (bacteria) that may be present and to prevent bacteria from entering the site.
Do not cover it - doing so will keep it 'wet'. After you have your toes wet from the pool or beach sand, you will need to wash them with warm soapy water, rinse really well and then apply a drop or two of peroxide to dry it out and help to prevent infection. FYI - there are LOADS of bacteria and fungi in beach sand and sea water, so you need to try and stay out of the water until the injured portion of the nail heals.
The soft 'cover' on the nail bed will harden and a new nail will begin to grow. I know it is nearly impossible for you to stay out of the water, that's why I said to wash the nails with warm soapy water, rinse well and then apply a drop of peroxide to the nail. The peroxide will help to dry out the nail as well as to either kill or prevent bacterial infection.