My Split Little Toenails (or Accessory Nail on the 5th Toe)
What Is an Accessory Nail of the Fifth Toe?
Split toenails are longitudinal splits that bisect the nail vertically down the middle. It almost looks like you have two tiny toenails growing side-by-side. This split usually occurs on the pinky toenail, but might affect any other nail. It can affect one foot or both. Sometimes the split occurs towards the outer edge of the nail and can be very painful. The condition is not regarded as serious, but that doesn't mean it isn't pesky. Having suffered from mine for many years, in this article I'll explain how to deal with this condition.
My Sixth Toenails
From about the age of about twelve, I noticed that my little toenails began to split into two. The split was interesting. It was about 1.5mm from the outer edge and was vertical or longitudinal—from the top of the nail in a straight split to the cuticle—on both feet.
I assumed that I was making it happen somehow: Perhaps I was cutting my nails incorrectly, or maybe I was catching the nails on my socks or at night in my bed sheets? They didn't really trouble me as long as I put my socks on carefully.
I assumed it was normal. Later, when I started to wear tights, the nails were forever catching and tearing on them, which was annoying and painful. Sometimes I would pull the sliver of separated nail off in annoyance, which was painful and occasionally caused my toe to bleed. Sometimes I trimmed it down to the cuticle, but this made it catch on my clothing even more.
The split nail kept growing back no matter what I did. It never occurred to me to seek medical help.
Why Is My Little Toenail Splitting Into Two?
- It's not rare to have a double toenail—they happen to a wide variety of people, with many racial backgrounds, in every country.
- The condition may be genetic, as many who have them report that their mother or father have them, too, but there haven't been any studies to find out how prevalent the condition is.
- Oftentimes, people whose see splits seem to have extra-wide and extra-short nailbeds on the affected little toenails, but again, no studies have been done to verify this fact.
How to Fix Double Toenails on Pinky Toe
The extra nail can be removed with a nail clipper, just like any other nail. It will grow back, however, so you'll have to repeat the procedure whenever it does.
If it keeps giving you trouble and you want the removal to be permanent, then surgery—either excision (total nail removal) or phenolization (destroying part of the nail)—is the recommended treatment. A phenol matricectomy is a procedure to permanently destroy the matrix. It's a simple procedure, conducted in the doctor's office under local anesthesia. Removal can be done by surgery or by using chemicals. In some instances, a laser can be used. It is also performed as treatment for an ingrowing toenail.
If a sufferer is struggling to cope with the condition and wants to have some treatment, a matricectomy is commonly performed, which results in permanent loss of that portion of the nail.
The matrix is a structure that lies under the nail, above the nail bed, and is its formative layer. Cells there collect keratin as they divide rapidly, enabling the nail to grow and develop the characteristic hard layer. The rate of growth is around 3mm per month.
Matricectomies are regarded as aggressive treatments and are generally avoided unless the nail condition is severe.
Split Toenails In Legend
There is quite a gruesome Chinese legend about the mythical origins of this condition. A story about a woman who was abducted by a rival faction during the Huang-ti Dynasty. She was stabbed in the stomach as she tried to escape. Later, she gave birth to two children who had scarred feet, all the descendants of whom have split little toenails.