- Alternative & Natural Medicine
My Cure For Split Little Toe Nails
What is an Accessory Nail of the Fifth Toe?
Accessory nail of the fifth toe presents as a longitudinal split on the pinky toenail. This split is usually towards the outer edge of the nail.
It is thought to be an inherited condition, and is known to be prevalent in the Chinese and Caucasian populations.
The condition is not regarded as serious.
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 creating it 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 never really troubled me as long as I put my socks on carefully. I assumed it was normal.
When I became a young woman and started to wear tights, the nails were forever catching and tearing my tights, which was annoying. 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 nails always grew again and always grew with the split. I never considered that a problem; it was simply an irritant and it never occurred to me to seek medical advice.
Is an Extra Toenail a Problem?
Over a period of about 40 years I had had this little ailment, and as I grew older, I also noticed many other little ailments begin to accumulate.
I was not unduly worried about any of them, they were all annoying and I generally thought they were simply part of the aging process. It did make me sad, because some of these problems were disfiguring, for example a little cyst was developing on the end of my nose, and I knew in time it would be particularly unattractive and might have to be removed.
There was just one little fleeting puzzle, a conundrum I could not solve: Why was I apparently aging faster than some of my contemporaries? This question did pop into my head on occasion, but I never really gave it a lot of deep thought other than to acknowledge I was just unlucky and/or it was genetic.
By the age of 51, however, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So, now I needed to pay attention. Had all these little niggling illnesses been telling me something over the years? I decided to do some research into how to kickstart my immune system, which for some reason was not operating optimally.
At this point I had not made any connection between my diagnosis, my little illnesses, and my immune system. To be frank, for a while I was in a state of shock.
I spent many months researching how to optimise my immune system.
Initially I began to think that my thyroid might be a possible source of my problems, in fact my symptoms seemed to be all on the hypothyroidism symptoms list. My thyroid may not have been functioning properly. I went to see a couple of thyroid doctors who agreed that my T4-T3 conversion was non- existent and they prescribed thyroid medications to correct this. One I could not get an answer to was why was my T4 - T3 conversion so poor.
For a while the medications seemed to work, my immune system seemed to have a burst of activity and I felt well, but over time I lost the initial impact and found the medications were no longer effective. Thyroid forums and many of the available thyroid books and websites often talk about body temperature being an indicator of how well the thyroid, with or without medications, is working, I noticed that the medications did not affect my body temperature at all, I had a low body temperature and no matter what I tried it remained low..
Having tried the medications, and realising they didn't fix my low temperature I started to consider the thyroid route may not be the way forward for me, at the same time however I had begun to believe that my low temperature was key. I decided to change direction and see if I could find anyone who had successfully fixed their own low temperature by any other means.
I was in luck. I found possibly the only Central Metabolic Control System Therapist in the world. I contacted him and was lucky enough to get a reply. The therpist had fixed his own low temperature several years earlier in order to optimise his immune system because he also had a life threatening illness, and, like me, he believed temperature underpinned his immune system.
After a little discussion I worked out a plan to fix my low temperature and started on a supported, self help resetting program. This involved getting my brain to 'like' being at a new operating temperature. Effectively I was retraining my brain.
A few months after operating oat a new optimal opertaing temperature, underpinned by a set point of 37C instead of my old 35.8C, I realised that I no longer had my Accessory Nail of the Fifth Toe. This was unexpected.
Oddly I was a bit sad by this as I was fondly attached to this querky, annoying foible and I liked the cute name!
Extra Toenails: What to Do?
If a sufferer is struggling to cope with the condition and wants to have some treatment, a matricectomy is commonly performed.
Matricectomy: The process of chemically or surgically destroying all or part of the nail's base or matrix, which results in permanent loss of that portion of the nail, as a new nail plate can never regenerate.
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.
A matricectomy is a procedure to permanently remove all or part of the matrix. It is also performed as treatment for an ingrowing toenail. Removal can be done by surgery or by using chemicals or in some instances, a laser. Matricectomies are regarded as aggressive treatments and 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 toe nails.
Dr Carl Wunderlich
Could the Brain be a Health Control System?
The brain controls operating set points.
I have recently been reading how that feeling of hunger is a set point where, the brain tells the body that it needs food by releasing a hormone. This is indicted by 'hunger pangs' which can be uncomfortable, and typically last for around 30 - 40 minutes. Food will satiate the body and the brain switches off the hunger hormone. We are consciously able to override the hunger sensations if we are unable to eat at the specific time.
This leads me to consider, what if other processes, like health for example, are also governed by set points? There are many processes involved in homeostasis; pH balance, insulin levels, excretion, hydration, respiration and temperature. What if one of these were a 'master' set point? What if temperature were that master set point and what would happen if, for whatever reason the selection of the temperature set point went awry?
Homeostatis works on a feed back system, receptors, detecting the condition to be regulated, and effectors then taking corrective action. What if the brain were no longer selecting so called normal set points like temperature? Could it be that homeostasis will not be able to be sustained and other things, like health, goes wrong as a result?
Human body temperatures were recorded in the 1800's by Dr Carl Wunderlich (1) as being an average of 37C or 98.6F. By 2010 temperature ranges are now generally accepted as being wide and variable and his work debunked. But what if Dr Wunderlich work was accurate? Perhaps something has impacted on temperature selection set points over the last hundred years, it is thought 40% of the population have a low temperature.
Some more recent research has been published by the Scripps Research Instutute (2), where temperatures were recorded during metabolism and calorie investigations, this work suggests that temperatures and metabolism affect longevity, it then goes on to look at the genes involved in the inheritance of low body temperatures. It also observes that temperatures fall as humans age.
So, the condition, Low Body Temperature, is known, the impact on longevity is documented, and the reducing temperature with each decade in humans over the age of 50 is also recorded, but what if it is the set point selection that is inherited or is as a result of aging can be corrected?
My mother has a low body temperature, my sister has a low temperature, I had a low temperature for 51 years, it was 35.8C during the daytime and 35C at night. I reset my operating set point and now operate at 37C during the daytime. Coincidentally many of my little ailments have disappeared or are resolving by themselves.Perhaps genetic engineering isn't always the answer. Perhaps our brains can be retrained, and when temperature selection is corrected, homeostasis is restored and the immune system begins to operate more optimally again.
My Current Thoughts on Health
I suppose after this experience I have a very different and alternate attitude towards maintaining health. I believe the immune system, when operating optimally can deal with many little subset illnesses all by itself.
Clearly not all illnesses can be tackled by the immune system, and some need the expertise of a professional clinician.
Because I have seen many of my other little illnesses disappear and am not feeling as though I am aging quite so quickly, I most definitely will always try to keep my immune system optimal. I include several things in my protocol; the most important of which is my temperature.
I am not a doctor, and I am not in anyway qualified to make recommendations, this story is merely an account of an experience I have had.