First of all, refer to it as “mentally ill” rather than “cracked”. Give the toenail concern and support. Assure it that those nice young men in their clean white coats are their friends…oh. The other kind of cracked. Well, something like this can certainly drive you crazy. Or at least ruin your day.
Why is My Toenail Cracked?
While you are discouraged from Googling your symptoms, there is a safe and sane way to go about it. Start with the simplest to cure and most likely of diagnosis, see what happens and see a doctor if there’s no improvement. It’s the “Hear hoofbeats and expect horses rather than zebras” approach.
Now, for a cracked toenail it could be they’ve been kept either too wet or too dry. They could have been exposed to harsh chemicals. Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, fungal infections, poor circulation, thyroid issues and sometimes even side effects of some medications may cause toenails to break.
There are other reasons nails split or break. Nail-biting and picking usually appear in fingernails. However, you rarely find anyone flexible enough (and gross enough) to bite their toenails. An injury to the foot may cause a nail to crack.
A sloppily done pedicure can do it. Diseases of the liver and kidneys can lead to split nails. Sometimes it’s just crummy genetics or a vitamin deficiency. Some biotin, iron, and folates might be all you need.
Can a Split Toenail Be Repaired?
First things first. Just how bad is it? If it has gone into the nail bed you will have to go to the emergency room for stitches. This goes double for diabetics and people with neuropathy. If there’s any discoloration you may need medical care. If you notice horizontal ridges, known as Beau’s lines, you may need to go to the doctor and have your thyroid checked.
If it doesn’t seem that serious, you can fix it up with a little tape to keep it from getting into the nail bed. This is just a quick fix to keep things from getting worse until you can do some serious repair work. Once you can do some serious work, start with a nail file. A five or ten-minute soak in warm water first will help things along.
File in the direction of the split. File it down until it is smooth and even. You can keep the split from getting worse by effectively decoupaging the afflicted nail with paper from a tea bag. Apply a clear base coat to your nail and wait a few seconds for it to get tacky.
Apply the paper and smooth it out so that there are no wrinkles or bubbles. Trim the paper to fit the shape of your nail and file in the direction of the split. Another layer of topcoat will make it translucent. Then, all you can do is wait for it to grow out so you can cut it off.
Will a Cracked Toenail Heal Itself?
At most, all it can do is grow out far enough for you to cut off. If the nail has somehow managed to separate from the nail bed it will not reattach. All you can do is trim and file it to keep it from snagging and ripping and to prevent infection.
How Long Does It Take for a Split Toenail to Heal?
Toenails grow back quite slowly. It can take up to eighteen months for a toenail to grow back completely. If a torn toenail results in a damaged nail bed, you should keep it bandaged for seven to ten days until the bed hardens up. You can speed things along by keeping the nail from being reinfected and taking biotin supplements and eating lots of protein and calcium-rich foods.
How Do You Heal a Cracked Toenail?
Should a nail become torn or detached, there is not very much that can be done to replace or repair it. The most pressing concern is whether there is any damage to nearby structures. If it looks like there is any noticeable damage to areas around the nail then a call on a doctor may be necessary.
If there is swelling, pain, pus, infection or discoloration you must see a doctor immediately. Sometimes blunt trauma to a nail causes bleeding that results in a subungual hematoma.
The pressure of the accumulated blood can be relieved by a tiny hole drilled into the nail plate. This sort of thing, of course, should only be performed by a medical professional. (Aren’t you glad you read that paragraph to the end before doing anything?)
Can You Glue Your Toenail Back On?
You could also try gluing it together. This only works, of course, if the crack does not go into the nail bed. You can use the nail glue that comes in artificial nail sets or you can use super glue. Be careful not to glue your fingers to your toes!
You really will look silly in the waiting room. Super glue can usually be cleaned up with nail polish remover. Use some of either kind of glue to mend a crack. A top coat of clear nail polish will further protect the crack and be another layer of adhesive.
This, of course, only applies to cracks. If the toenail breaks off completely, the bed must be kept clean. A little petroleum jelly can be put on it under a fresh dressing. Trying to glue a nail, real or artificial, to a bare nail bed could just lead to an infection.
Can You Put Acrylic on a Broken Toenail?
Frankly, acrylic nails are unhealthy and impractical. They are very hard and completely inflexible. In Fact, it presents a problem when you try to put your foot into a shoe. Your toenails should be able to flex as you walk and as you come in contact with a shoe.
Without such flexibility, the nail would jam into your toe much the same way as an ingrown toenail. In no time at all, this can cause an infection. In short, acrylic nails are not good for healthy toenails, let alone cracked ones.
However, if the nail is gone completely, a professional can fit you with an acrylic prosthetic nail until a new one grows back. Keep in mind that the product should be kept off the skin. It will have to go in for maintenance every two weeks as the new nail begins to grow back.
Is It Better to Cut or File Toenails?
If we were talking fingernails, the filing would be best. It gives them an attractive shape and keeps them from splitting. Toenails, however, should be flat tops. Here are the six major components of toenail care.
- The clippers Use something specifically meant for toenails such as manicure scissors or preferably nail clippers. To keep fungus from spreading, use fingernail clippers for fingers and toenail clippers for toes. Not only is it more hygienic, but thicker toenails are also easier to cut with toenail clippers.
- The frequency of cut Toenails should be cut every six to eight weeks. Active athletes may find that a more frequent cutting is more comfortable.
- Wet or dry? The vintage education short “Keeping Clean and Neat” suggests cutting your toenails after a shower. As authoritative as disembodied voices from the Fifties sound, that should only be done if your nails are rather thick and difficult to cut. Dry nails cut cleaner and won’t split easily.
- Toenail length If you cut your toenails too short, they can become ingrown. Toenails allowed to get too long are more likely to tear. About a millimeter or two is an acceptable length for toenails.
- The actual cut Now, let’s get to actually cutting the nail! To keep the nail from becoming ingrown you should cut your nails straight across. You may have to make two cuts for this. One should be slightly to the side to make a straight edge. One more cut straight across should finish it.
- File it away Once you’ve cut the nail, you may want to file away any rough edges. A rough edge can snag on things. Which segues us into the next big question.
How Do You File Toenails Correctly?
Be gentle about this. Otherwise, you could damage your nails. Once you have them properly trimmed down you can start filing. here is how you should do this.
- Start by filing your toenails in just one direction, going from corner to center. This will prevent fraying the nail which can lead to damage in your nail bed plus toenail breakage. It will also make a clean shape. Filing your toenails with care will assist you in keeping your toenails in shape.
- Keep filing straight across in just one direction until you get the right shape.
- Condition and moisturize your freshly trimmed and filed nails by applying Vitamin E or aloe-infused lotion to the toenail beds.
More On Hygiene
Wash your feet every day with soap and warm water. Get between the toes. A pumice stone is good for exfoliating. You can rub moisturizing lotion on your feet, but here you should not get in between the toes. Keep your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Change your socks daily. Change them more often if they get wet or sweaty. Keep your feet dry. Wear flip-flops if you must use a communal shower. Above all, make sure to trim your nails properly!
Broken toenails can be fixed, but it is much easier to prevent a crack from starting in the first place by keeping toenails trimmed and filed to a proper length and kept smooth to keep them from snagging.
A healthy diet can also aid in keeping fingernails solid and strong. If a crack does form in your nail, remember the adage about how a stitch in time can save nine. In this case, you may be able to not get any stitches at all!
You may be able to mend this yourself, but if you are in pain or if the toe is swelling, discolored, leaking pus or showing other signs of infection, you need medical care right away. Take care of your nails, treat injuries quickly and carefully and they won’t come to take them away. Ha Ha!