Skin, Hair & Nails

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Skin, Hair & Nails Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

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ask: Is two toenails uncommon? Should I be concerned?

I have a toe nail that appears to have two toenails growing...literally one on top of the other. Should I be concerned about this? It doesn't hurt at all but it just odd.

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EmpowHER Guest

This happened to my big toe in 2008 after going thru cancer treatment. I continue to have it and now also noticed a nail growing underneath a nail on a center toe. Doesn't hurt. Top nail eventually peels off. Have so many other side effects after having head cancer twice now I haven't worried about it. Glad to see it's not just me.

February 21, 2014 - 4:53pm
EmpowHER Guest

My middle toes on both feet have 2 layers, one will grow under the top pushing the top off from the cuticle area of my nail, after a little time, I can lift the toenail from the cuticle and cut it off piece by piece, slowly until the under nail has grown out completely. I wouldn't recommend "ripping it off" like an earlier post said. In time you can clip the top nail completely away and have a new nail. Problem is if you like to paint your nails, makes it difficult when the under nail starts pushing the upper nail off, looks really weird. Last week something new happened though, my pinky toenail came completely off, just lifted right off without any nail under it. None of the nails hurt but it kind of freaks me out, it reminded me a lot of the movie, "The Fly", when he started pulling his nails off......... WEIRD!!! I'm just worried that it might be a vitamin deficiency and it the toenails are the first warning signs....... ugh! If anyone knows cures, I'm all ears

December 19, 2012 - 9:48pm
EmpowHER Guest

The second toenail on the pinky toe is actually called a lister corn. I'm 31 and I've had this on both pinky toes for about 10 years. Google "lister corn" and learn more about it.

October 30, 2012 - 6:18am

This is NOT medical advice but my story. Been there done that. The top nail dies. You can wait until beyond the time when it is too uncomfortable & basically grab the end tip of the nail & lift yanking it off hard peeling it off the base. Will be ugly & sore underneath with a tad of blood but wash it off & put an ointment / bandaids over it. Wash well every day & after about 2-3 days you will notice you got an entire clean new nail under it (was there all along). Or if it bothers you before the top nail is totally dead, dig out a corner and basically "LET IT RIP!" pulling it from one corner to the other tearing it off hard. You might have to do each end to get it all & even get straggler pieces the next day or two if you were really early (even “carve” off pieces) but, again, you will find a new thin nail underneath. The question then is did your injury (mine was long distance running) permanently damage your nail bed or a one time thing? If permanent the good news is toe nails grow very slowly but the bad news is you will have to do this again in 3 to 6 months. Note, I am a long distance runner who was always smashing toe nails against the inside of the shoes, blistering all over, sweating, & getting smashed nails leading to double nails. The answer for me has been wearing Injinji 5 toe socks with Vibram 5 Finger Shoes. The socks cushion each toe & keeps the moisture out so you do not blister. The shoes protect each tow. My longest tow next to the big fat one still hits the sneaker base a little but it is much softer material. The Vibram 5s take time getting use to so start slow & build up. They are not for everyone but once use to them they have been my miracle. I got over 450 miles out of my first pair & not a single blister. There is a slight hole at the end of the long tow sockets on each food so there is some friction there but it is much softer material than a regular sneaker. Yes, I know it is gross but I do “LET IT RIP” and I feel wonderful after!

June 20, 2012 - 4:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

It happens to me too; my second toe is slightly longer than my big toe so at times when I play sports it hits against the front of my shoe a fair bit. It doesn't happen a lot but when it does I notice the toenail is thicker than the rest, grows slower, and has ridges on it.

It doesn't hurt, and to get rid of it I'd try to find a place where it allows me to lift the nail up to separate it from the original nail, and if it doesn't cause me pain (sometimes it'll hurt from the sides where it is still attached to the cuticles) I'll clip the sides away and it will lift off entirely. It doesn't look too gross, just really bumpy looking due to the ridges. The bottom nail will look new and healthy.

Didn't see a doctor because it didn't cause me any pain, no blackening of nail like the other stories so I didn't think much of it but probably will if it starts giving me problems.

May 5, 2012 - 9:38am
Angelina Willium

This is not big issue. It is common, try to cover it by nail art.

April 20, 2012 - 12:28am
EmpowHER Guest

I have 3 nails growing on top of each other on both my big toe, and I can see it growing longer from my top toe, it's kinda worrying me. It's obviously not normal and i don't know how it happened. Sometimes it hurts a little on the sides, I don't know what to do. Please Help! Any information or advice would be great!

September 23, 2011 - 10:22pm
EmpowHER Guest

I've been having the same problems (double nails on both big toes, ridges on second toes) for over a year and have just become convinced that the 'trauma' in my case is not cutting toenails regularly enough and wearing tights which pull on the nails. So perhaps trauma can be as simple as socks/ tights/ shoes pulling the nails back.

September 16, 2011 - 3:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have the same problem in both big toenails. They have a toenail bowing on top of mother toenail and I've had this problem for as far as I can remember. I'm currently seventeen and I've been to the podiatrist and they suggested to take both big toenails off. So they took off both nails and now they've grown back with the same problem and my podiatrist said I should wait and see what happens but as you know I'm a teenager and I want to wear open shoes but it's embarrassing so now my only alternative is to take this antifungal pill called Lamisil.

July 28, 2011 - 10:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

How bad does your big toe look? I mean, up until the time the toenail decides to separate from the one underneath and I pull or cut or otherwise get them apart (because they're already splitting) you totally can't tell there's two there.
Of course, once it's off then for about a month it's clear there's something going on with them.
Can you tell that there's two toenails there on a regular basis just by looking?
If not, then I'd refrain from taking anything. An antifungal doesn't seem like it would do anything to relieve my problem double toenails. I think I was just born this way.
This is gonna sound nutty but you know those nail file things they have for dogs? The one that spins? The last time my nails came apart, I let them grow back, but as they were, I gently filed the top layer so it couldn't get really thick like they do. So far it seems to be working. I just do it REALLY GENTLY when ever I notice it's thickening.
I'm not saying it'll work, just that it seems to help my situation.

Sorry you're going through this in your teens...just know you're not alone. Does keeping colored polish on them help to hide it?

July 29, 2011 - 12:20am
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