How to a correct a vertical split in the nail?

November 25, 2009

I have a client who has been coming to me every two weeks for about four months. She originally came to me with a vertical split going up her nail toward the cuticle on both of her thumbs. It appeared that it was only splitting about 1/8th of an inch from the free edge. But as time has gone on I notice that it doesn’t ever grow out because there is a ridge that travels completely to the cuticle. She moisturizes daily and has even been using various nail strengtheners. I don’t know how to correct this. Please help!


Splitting is a sign of something gone wrong with the formation process of the nail plate. A nail split can be from problems in either the nail bed or lunula. The problem causing the split can be inherited from your family, or it can be a recent development. Inherited cases are usually on symmetric sides of the body, and non-inherited causes are usually only on one side of your body. The type of split also gives you a lot of information. A split that is a straight clean line may be due to trauma or a tumor, while a split that is jagged but symmetric may be due to a nervous tick. You can also look for signs of scar damage to the lunula, cuticle, and surrounding area. It is a good idea to get evaluated by a dermatologist who knows nail disease well. — Dr. Rashid M. Rashid is a house staff dermatologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and director of the nail, hair, and skin disease division of the Morzak Center.


What’s the cause of the pinkish-red oval area on the pad of my client’s toes?

I have a client who has a recurring problem with her fourth toes during the winter months. Both of her “ring finger” toes develop a pinkish-red oval area on the pad. Then a month later, when I see her again, the skin has become dry and hard like a callus, with the layers of skin peeling away to reveal a deeper, dark epicenter.  It’s extremely painful for her and, needless to say, we do not touch it. But it clears up in the summer when she’s wearing open-toed sandals, so I suspect it has to be due to the boots she wears in the winter. Plus she never puts lotion on her feet or uses a foot file in between visits. What do you think causes this?


What are the big white spots on my natural-nail client’s nails?

I have a client who has been with me for about two years. She used to wear acrylic nails but has been a natural nail client for eight months or so. She has these white spots on her nails — big spots that are dry, but not flaky, right in the middle of the nail. I did try to buff them lightly but they do not come off or grow off. I had a new client come in last week who had the same on her toenails. She said it started after she had a pedicure done at another salon. Can you help?

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