What's going on with my toenail?
April 15, 2020 6:32 AM   Subscribe

It's sort of the opposite of an ingrown nail. Details below in case you'd rather not read about my toenails!

My pinky toenail has a vertical split in it, on the far side (the edge of my foot). I can file it down but it grows back and is sharp and catches on my socks. Have you had this? How did you manage? I am a bit squeamish about feet, so can't bring myself to cut it to the root--and perhaps that is best left to a professional anyway? Any other tips or tricks?
posted by stillmoving to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This describes what I have on my big toe as a result of a partly successful ingrown toenail operation when I was a teen. I just keep clipping it as low as possible because they'd have to cut pretty deep into the nail bed to get rid of it and I was never interested in having that procedure done again.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:41 AM on April 15, 2020

So you're saying that the split is down the length of your toenail? I've had this happen, actually, and the trick to fixing it is to keep it from catching on something and exacerbating the tear. The simple solution, appropriate for social distancing, is to protect it until the tear fully grows out. Clear nail polish will work for this purpose, although you'll have to keep reapplying it to ensure there's enough coverage. Or you can keep a bandaid on it. Maybe even one of those toe protectors that are like little socks would work.
posted by DrGail at 7:52 AM on April 15, 2020

Best answer: Accessory nail of the fifth toenail! Particularly common among Han Chinese people, but also found in many ethnic groups.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 8:17 AM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Holy crow, I totally have an accessory nail of the fifth toenail on my right foot. That's so neat! I always thought that I just had a weird pinky toe. Learn something new every day.
posted by Gray Duck at 8:40 AM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

When my nails break (more often horizontally but this should still work) I apply to a clean, dry nail: several layers clear nail polish, then alternating a layer of gauze (as in 1 sheet from a gauze pad cut to fit the area), polish, gauze, and a few more layers of polish to smooth it out so it doesn't catch on anything. This gauze/polish combo can be clipped along with the nail as the nail grows out.
posted by kristicat at 10:10 AM on April 15, 2020

Are your toenails looking old and horny? Thickening, crumbling, yellowing? If they are not the same pink, flat, pretty nails you had when you were young they may have become infected with fungus and the fungus be making them split.

If so apply anti fungus cream or just soak your toes in a solution of 2.5% vinegar for twenty minutes every day for a couple of months or however long it takes to grow fresh uninfected nails. Also make sure there isn't something funny about one of your pairs of shoes that could be causing the problem.

Soften your nails by soaking them before you trim them or file them to help discourage splitting, tearing or cracking.

Make sure you are not stubbing that toe repeatedly due to something under you desk or in some other location that has been lying in wait for you. You can make little socks for your toe to help prevent the nail from catching on things by cutting the finger tips off a suitable pair of gloves.
posted by Jane the Brown at 2:30 PM on April 15, 2020

Holy shit this is me! My whole life! For years I just trimmed it down because it caught on socks and drove me INSANE and in the last year I was moisturizing my feel well and cleaning the cuticle and it’s just kind of... stopped.

Also... my son had a split thumb nail and some OTC fingernail fungus liquid solved it.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:51 AM on April 16, 2020

Response by poster: Incredible! It’s definitely an accessory nail. Thank you for the other suggestions, too.
posted by stillmoving at 11:22 AM on May 3, 2020

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