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My Cure For Split Little Toe Nails

Updated on May 10, 2016

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.

I was amazed to find this picture of a nail exactly like mine!
I was amazed to find this picture of a nail exactly like mine! | Source

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!

Nail Matrix

E = Matrix
E = Matrix | Source

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.




Do you have Accessory Nail of the Fifth Toe?

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    • profile image

      Heather 4 months ago

      I have the split toe on my right pinky, but my body temperature is fine and I have a good metabolism. I'd like to get rid of it without surgery, but don't think that raising my body temp above 37 C /98.6 F would be good.

    • profile image

      Nini 11 months ago

      I have experienced this nail problem from childhood till now. Since I was very young I have always had a low body temperature, once I hit puberty my doctors would take my temperature look at me funny and say, "are you on your period?". The answer was of course "no", and as I have gotten a bit older (25) my doctors have just accepted my abnormally low body temperature as normal for me. When I get a fever it is usually around 98F to 99F. What confuses me is that because of my lower body temperature I don't do well in heat. So I'm confused by the comments of people claiming they often feel cold(?). I can withstand the cold much better than heat. Problem is that I have bad circulation and so though it might be hot outside, you can guarantee my fingers will feel ice cold to the touch. I don't notice but others do.

      My question to Janey is, if you had a low body temperature how difficult was it for you, to manually change it to a higher threshold? Is it really possible??

    • profile image

      TGP 16 months ago

      First of all, all of this is silly. It doesn't matter what ethnic background you are. Anyone can have a split toenail. I'm African-American and it runs on my father's side of the family. It is more than not hereditary. You can either it that smaller split side chemically extracted like you would an ingrown toenail, continue to keep it clipped short, or keep your nails professional groomed.

    • Janey Hood profile image

      Janey Hood 17 months ago from UK

      This suggestion that I am describing a Lister's Corn is certainly interesting. I did look your suggestion up, but could not find any images that were similar to the condition I had.

      I have a small joke with myself that when a condition cannot be cured the discoverer gives it his/her name! I suppose what I actually think is the name of the subset ailment is largely irrelevant but the underlying cause - in my own search for a cure - remains the same.. Perhaps a Lister's corn might also be the result of a compromised immune system?

      Thank you for your input I do apprecriate any additional information if it helps people in their search for a cure.

    • profile image

      Allison 17 months ago

      That's not actually what that is. It's actually called a Lister's Corn.

    • profile image

      birdie123 2 years ago

      This is very interesting - i have had mine on both feet for at least 39 years. I also noticed the same temperature method cured your pompholyx and nasal problems, which i also have.

      My extra nail grow and twists catching on my socks that i must wear otherwise my feet turn blue with cold. I had no choice but to pull it out which is incredibly painful for a few days afterwards. That search is how I came across this.

      I will definitely look into this some more, so thank you for the information.

      I am cold all the time, even in the summer and in the middle of a heatwave, i am in a multitude of jumpers and have the heating on, so in that respect i maintain my heat to a high degree and have done for years, however this has not fixed or reset my 'gauge'. I find the hotter i make myself the more sensitive i am to cold, I mean I feel even the slightest change and it gives me horrible chills.

      I don't think there is an underlying medical condition for this as i have always been this way. Over the years i have tried to condition myself towards the cold to treat this self heating problem but found it painful as i also have fibro and RA.

      Interestingly enough, I have none of these heat problems or cold symptoms during the week long periods i fast. Also my metabolism is quite high.

    • profile image

      Kylie 2 years ago

      Hey Janey,

      Thanks for this article!

      I'm 32yrs old and recently noticed my little toe nail was split when it started catching on things.

      I assumed it was some sort of ingrown nail from cutting incorrectly, but over the months i've become aware it won't heal.. the split is exactly the same as the photo you have put up. I've also got a mysterious bump thats popped up on the tip of my nose, around the same time as the toe thing actually. The bump isn't very noticeable, but I can feel it . I was REALLY surprised to read you have had the exact same problems.

      I grew up in a really warm climate in Western Australia and am now living on the east coast, which is much cooler. I have developed very poor circulation (mainly in winter) my feet often become numb.

      I will get myself a thermometer to record my temperature to see if it maintains itself well.

      Thanks again.

    • Janey Hood profile image

      Janey Hood 2 years ago from UK

      Resetting a low body temperature where it has been incorrectly selected by the central metabolic control system is a difficult process involving getting the brain to 'like' operating at 37c or 98.6f instead of whatever other set point it is choosing to use. The process I went through was by sheer brute force, I raised my temperature everyday for a couple of weeks by applying heat and then maintained this for around two to three years. Now my temperature rises to 37c by itself every day. However everyone is very different and identifying the best method is tricky. It is a good idea to do this with the support of a central metabolic control system therapist, and the process is challenging so being supported is also helpful. Good luck my friend.

      Temperature and metabolism are for these purposes two different things.

    • Janey Hood profile image

      Janey Hood 2 years ago from UK

      It is interesting. Although a little gruesome!

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      This is interesting! I have the same little toenail, and I kept thinking it was a dry cuticle or that I was splitting it myself by accident! I also have a little bump on my nose. I'm always cold and my metabolism is slow.

      How is it that you reset your temperature?

    • samihipendo profile image

      Samuil Hippi 3 years ago from Samoah

      I`ve never heard of this Chinese legend, sounds interesting, will have to look it up. Thanks.