Understanding Small Toenail Splitting | Small Toenail Hardening

As implied in its name, small toenail splitting is when the small toenail splits or in some cases, hardens, like in the photo below. It can be caused by a variety of factors, but direct trauma and excessive pressure are two big culprits.

Small toenail splitting is usually caused by physical trauma | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

What causes Small Toenail Splitting?

  • Direct trauma, such as dropping a heavy object onto the toe.
  • Excessive pressure put on the nail.
    • This is often caused by wearing very tight, stiff high heels or shoes which squeeze the little toe into a corner.
    • Some individuals have a curled fifth toe, meaning that this toe curls under the one next to it. This places excessive pressure on the toe as well.
Wearing high heels too often without adequate rest may also cause small toenail splitting | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Best Small Toenail Splitting Treatment

  • Not much can be done for a split toenail after the fact, other than to remove it safely and wait for a new nail to grow in its place healthily.
    • This requires the patient to wear open-toed shoes or go barefoot where possible.
  • Prevention is far more preferable.
    • Wear healthier, comfier shoes where possible, only wearing tight shoes when required or taking them off when you can.

However, if small toenail splitting causes further complications like ingrown nails or an infection, we highly recommend that you visit a podiatrist to address the issue.

Written by Kardem Kiter
Written by Kardem Kiter

Based in Singapore, Degree in Podiatric Medicine from the University of Johannesburg. Published in The Foot and member of The Golden Key Honour Society.

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