Broken Nails The pain:

 Since nails are dead tissue, it’s the skin around and underneath them that hurts when they’re broken, brittle or problematic. 

The cause: A hangnail forms when a small piece of cuticle (the skin around the nail) dries up, dies and peels off.  Brittle nails occur because you age, nail cells and the “mortar” that holds them together gradually break down. “A lack of moisture doesn’t cause the problem but it can worsen an already brittle condition.  If your toenail is black and elevated, it’s probably because blood has pooled underneath the nail, usually due to injury or improper footwear. 

See your doctor if.

after two weeks of applying moisturizer, you haven’t seen any improvement, and they still bother you, you may want to see a doctor.  “If they either hurt or affect the everyday functions of your hands, then it’s time to consult a dermatologist. pain doesn’t feel as if it’s coming from the skin of a toe but from inside the toe.  You can fracture the bones in your toe but not realize it and only treat the toenail injury. you have diabetes or a history of gout an ingrown nail yields pus, reddish streaks on the toe, or is accompanied by fever or a great deal of swelling. 

Quick relief: Handle a hangnail. 

If you get a hangnail, don’t pick at it or try to bite it off.  It can actually become infected.  To remove a hangnail the right way, use this three-step technique.  Start by softening.  Never cut off a while it’s dry.  Instead, soften it by soaking it in warm water and olive oil Clip it cleanly.  Use nail scissors or nail clippers to remove the hangnail.  Cut it as short as you can without damaging the skin around it.  You don’t want to leave a stub that you can nibble on or play with.  Apply the finishing touches.  After clipping the hangnail, massage the skin around your nail with moisturizer, cover it with an adhesive bandage, and leave it alone. 

Cure a cuticle.  

To repair damaged cuticles and keep them problem – free. Add these steps to your nail – care routine.  First, soak them.  Before you do anything to your cuticles, soften them in warm sudsy water for several minutes.  This prevents drying and cracking, then give them a gentle push.  Wrap the tip of an orange stick in cotton sauce.  Then use the stick to gently push back each cuticle.  Finish with petroleum Jelly.  After pushing back to cuticles, massage them with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to seal in moisture. This will help keep your cuticles soft and healthy 

Fix a split. 

To salvage a split or broken nail, apply a very small amount of nail glue to the tear.  Reinforce the tear by covering it with a small piece of tissue from a tea bag.  Let the glue dry completely, then use a fine buffer to even out the nail surface.  (Be sure to leave the tissue in place.) Finally, apply a top coat over the tissue.   

Drain a damaged toenail.  

To fix it (and take away the pain), thoroughly heat one end of an unfolded paper clip with a match or lighter.  “While the tip of the paper clip is still hot, put it through the nail plate,” Dr explains.  “This will melt the nail so that the fluid will escape.” Keep the drainage hole in the nail clog – free (that means no ointment or bandages) in case more liquid wants to ooze out.  And don’t burn your fingers with the heated paper clip.   

Take off a toenail. 

This is pretty serious business, but if your toenail is about to fall off, the best thing to do is take charge and care for it yourself rather than wait for your sock or something to catch on it and painfully tear the nail from its attachments.  You’ll want to clean the nail with soap and water, then clip it as close as possible to the underlying skin, says Dr.  “Don’t do this unless the toenail is very loose and about to come off anyway.”  Braver says.  “Put some antibiotic cream on the skin and nail and bandage it fairly snugly.” Keep a close eye on it, too.  If the toe becomes red and swollen.  exudes pus, or remains painful after a few days, see your podiatrist for treatment of a probable infection. 

If you notice an off – yellow or red watery drainage from the nail bed (not yellowish – green pus), then you should soak your foot in warm water with a few capfuls of Betadine antibiotic solution.  Add a few tablespoons of Epsom salts to promote drainage.  Soak for 10 minutes twice a day.  Regardless of whether you soak, apply a small amount of antibiotic cream to the toe and change the bandages twice daily for three weeks.  If.  After this time, the nail is still loose or you notice fluid under the nail.  see your podiatrist.  Ongoing care: Lift an ingrown toenail.  Once a nail has penetrated the skin you need to encourage it to grow outward.  Soak the toe in warm water (with a teaspoon of salt) for 10-15 minutes, then put a wisp of cotton under the side of the nail that’s in growing.  The cotton will help lift the nail off the skin as it grows out.

Soak with salt. 

To cleanse the area around a damaged toe nail and prevent an infection, soak your foot in a saltwater solution, made with one teaspoon of table salt added to a quart of warm water.  Do this a couple times a day for three or four days.  This is a general approach to promote drainage of an infected toe.  It also adds a soothing effect on the Irritated area.   

Helpful vitamins and supplements: Horse around with biotin. 

Years ago, researchers found that the B vitamin biotin increased the toughness of horses’ hooves.  Doctors saw the positive results in horses and concluded that biotin might have the same effect on human nails.  To get biotin in your diet, fill your glass with milk and your plate with servings of corn, barley, cauliflower, and legumes such as peanuts and soybeans.  But you’ll have to take biotin supplements to get the amount you need for brittle nails, take 300 micrograms four times a day with food.  for four to six months.  This should provide the necessary amount of biotin and could increase your nail thickness over a six – month period.   

Take your quercetin.  

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid, or plant compound, that is sold as a dietary supplement in tablet form.  “Quercetin controls the body’s response to excessive inflammation,” explains Nancy Dunne – Boggs.  a doctor of naturopathy.  “I usually tell people to take 300 milligrams three times a day after they sustain an injury.” You can find quercetin supplements in drugstores and health food stores.  You’ll only need this for a few days or up to two weeks.   

Get supplement support

Strong nails require adequate vitamin intake. Be sure that your vitamin supplements include minerals, especially zinc and iron.   

Everyday prevention: Reach for hand cream. 

Apply a moisturizing hand cream to your nails and hands frequently.  The cream traps the moisture in your nails and keeps them from drying out “This is a wise step for any person who constantly wets and dries their hands during the course of a day.  “Nails expand when they absorb water, then contract like an accordion when they dry, so he suggests applying a hand cream immediately after you dry your hands. Any over – the – counter cream should do the trick. Whatever hand cream you pick, buy several small tubes of it and leavethem all over the place – your pocketbook.  your desk drawer, beside the kitchen sink.  That way, you’ll always have some on hand.   

Make bedtime a formal affair

Before going to bed, coat your nails and hands with a thick layer of petroleum jelly.  Then slip on a pair of white cotton gloves to protect your hands overnight.  You’ll love the way this treatment makes your nails look.  This is especially helpful in winter, when hands and nails dry out quickly.   

Keep them short and sweet. 

If you’re bothered by brittle nails, Dr.  advises that you trim them shorter.  Shorter nails are much less likely to be injured or get caught on something and tear.  To keep nails strong, they should be cut straight across and rounded slightly at the edges.  Use sharp nail scissors or clippers.  He also recommends cutting your nails after washing, when they’re softer, less brittle, and less likely to break.  File away any rough edges by stroking the nail file in one direction not back and forth.   

Avoid cutting corners. 

When trimming your nails, leave them square at the corners.  This maximizes nail strength and helps prevent ingrown nails.   

File away flaws

Keep an emery board in your purse or desk drawer.  At the first sign of a nick or chip, use the board to smooth out the unevenness and prevent further damage.  Always file in the same direction; don’t wield the board like a saw.   

Glove ’em or leave’ em. 

If washing dishes is one of your daily chores, Dr.  suggests investing in several pairs of vinyl gloves with cotton liners.  The vinyl outside keeps the water off your nails, while the cotton liner absorbs sweat so that your nails won’t get wet inside the gloves.   

Watch your washing. 

Good hygiene is certainly important, but if you’re prone to brittle nails, don’t wash and dry your hands any more than you have to, says Dr.  .  Although you’d think wetting your hands would keep them moist, frequent washing and drying of hands actually strips away the moisture in and around your nails.  That may also cause them to dry out and become brittle.   

Go acetate, not acetone.  

Take a look at the ingredients list of your nail polish remover.  It should be made with acetate, not acetone. Acetone nail polish removers are stronger, but they can take much needed moisture out of your nails and may perhaps lead to the nails becoming more brittle. I recommend nail polish removers with acetate because they are less likely to dry out a person’s nails.  Or eschew nail polish altogether because the process of removing the polish dries out and damages the nail.  “Just leave them alone, buffing them lightly for a slight sheen and a more finished look. 

Find some real tools.”

Your nails aren’t screwdrivers, and they aren’t scrapers. A lot of the problems I see are from people abusing their nails by using them as tools.   

Invest in your cuticles

Nail damage is often self-inflicted.  “Nail biting is a big problem.”  Besides causing infection, it can causepermanent injury.  “His tip for keeping yourself from snacking on you spend good money getting your nails done, you are less likely to chew them   up.   

Have bad taste.  

Sabotage the taste of your fingernails.  How?  Try one of those bitter – tasting nail products that are designed to discourage nail biting.  They are available at any drugstore.  Trying to bite your nails after putting this stuff on your nails will inspire an instant “vetch.”  

If the shoe fits, wear it

There are ways to be kind to your toenails, too “Make sure your footwear fits properly.  If your shoes are too tight, it can lead to nail fungus and to ingrown toenails to boot.in you are a runner, buy new running shoes every several months, he advises.  “Those cruddy old shoes can harbor fungus over time.

Kick your shoes off.”

I don’t care what kind of shoes you wear; they are going to make your feet sweat. He advises going around as much.  as you can in stocking feet in your home.  

Wear protective shoes.

They’re called work boots for a reason. If you’re doing work, wear the right boots. “You need to protect your feet the same way you protect your skin.  and eyes, if you’re carrying something heavy.  then put on a good pair of boots.  Sandals aren’t going to protect your toes if you drop something.  “While we’re on the subject of sandals, it’s a good idea to wear them if you’re going to be anywhere close to rocks in water.” Waterproof sandals can really protect a guy who’s trying to walk through a stream. The point is that you don’t go barefoot if there’s a chance you’ll be walking across anything hot (pavement). Sharp (rocks and glass), slippery (rocks in water), or uneven. Wear sandals at the poolside or in the gym shower, to diminish your and feet. chances of picking up or spreading a fungus that may damage your nails.  

Herbal Help: Soak in horsetail.

This herb looks like the tassel on a mare’s nether parts High in silica, horsetail lends strength to  weak, lackluster fingernails, herbalist . Combine 1/2 teaspoon of dried horsetail, available in health food stores and through mail order with 1 teaspoon of comfrey in a  cup of boiling water  eye has been traditionally used by herbal healers to soothe and heal wounded skin, so this herb can help soothe dry, cracked skin around your nails.  Steep the herbs for 15 to 20 minutes and let cool to a comfortable temperature.  Then soak your nails in the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes several times a week, de la Tour suggests.  You can also make the soak using 1 teaspoon of horsetail and 1 teaspoon of dill which contains calcium.  

Try a soothing herbal salve.

To ease dryness, cracked skin, and minor infections that can occur when the skin around your nails is damaged and vulnerable. Herbalists suggest hand and Nail relief salve, infused with horsetail, comfrey, and usnea. Begin by infusing your base oil with the three herbs. Rub it into your fingers at night, and you’ll really start to feel the difference.  The comfrey soothes, the horsetail strengthens, and the usnea helps fight infection (all three herbs are available by mail).  “A lot of nurses, who have their hands in water all day. Love this formula.   

Massage with herb – enriched castor oil.  

For dry, ripped cuticles, rub a drop of castor oil into the cuticle of each nail, suggests beauty expert. Castor oil is thick and has lots of vitamin E, so it’s like food for the cuticle skin. And, it makes the nails shiny.  You could also add a drop or two of carrot seed, lavender, or sandalwood essential oils to a two-ounce bottle of castor oil for an herbal nail treatment.   

Offer ’em olive oil.  

Immerse your fingertips in a half – cup of warmed olive oil and soak for 15 to 30 minutes.  The oil helps rehydrate brittle nails.   

Break open the bath beads

As an alternative to olive oil, break open three or four baths – oil capsules and empty their contents into a half – cup of warm water.  Soak your fingertips in the diluted bath oil for five minutes.  Use this treatment once a day.   

Other alternatives: Believe the hypericum. 

If you drop something on your toe, try hypericum.  a homeopathic remedy specifically recommended for nerve – rich areas of the body, such as fingers and toes.  “Take a low potency of 300 every few hours as needed for the pain.  “It should be apparent within six doses or so that the hypericum is working. You probably won’t need to take this for more than two or three days.” Follow label directions for dosage information.   

Try yoga. 

Brittle nails are sometimes the result of bad digestion and may be helped with a daily exercise sometimes called the stomach lift.  Start by standing with your feet about two feet apart.  Keep your back straight and bend forward slightly at the waist.  Place your left palm on your left thigh, just above the knee, and your right palm in the same place on your right thigh.  Breathe out all the way, then bend your neck forward so that your chin tucks into your throat.  Without breathing, suck in your stomach muscles as if you were trying to touch your belly button to your backbone.  Hold for as long as possible, then relax and breathe.  Stand up straight.  Repeat the exercise three times.  (Don’t do the exercise during menstruation, or pregnancy, after surgery, if you’re bleeding or if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.)