DESCRIPTIONNail splitting occurs in fingernails and toenails.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Doctor's treatment for diagnosis, if splitting becomes severe.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Painless splitting of the nail. Cracks may be parallel to the length of the finger, or flakes of nail may chip off the end.
CAUSESScar formation from injury to the nail bed (sometimes).
Family history of nail-splitting.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should protect fingernails from trauma, especially excessive irritation from soap and water.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSNone expected.
Splitting may never disappear completely, but it may improve from time to time.
HOME CAREInstructions for your child:
Apply multiple layers of clear fingernail polish so cracks, fissures, and flakes are cemented together. This can provide a splint or shield to protect nails. Nail polishes that contain nylon fibers will thicken and strengthen nails.
Don't remove nail polish too often. Polish remover has a drying effect and may increase splitting. Instead, patch chips in the nail polish as they occur.
Cement false fingernails over the split nail (older children and adolescents).
Wear rubber gloves with cotton lining for household chores that involve water.
Use a hand cream often. Massage it into the skin around the nails.
MEDICATIONMedicine usually is not necessary for this disorder.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet. Many people say the condition improves if they drink large quantities of plain gelatin each day, but there is no evidence to support this theory.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has severe nail splitting that has become a problem.
Your child's self-care produces no improvement in 6 months.