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Pincer nails - Is there no hope?

Discussion in 'Ask your questions here' started by LuckyMe, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. LuckyMe

    LuckyMe Guest

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    I am a 53 year old caucasian female who has pincer nails on all 10 toes and 1 thumb. My recollection is that this problem began in my late 20's or early 30's, starting with 1 toenail and progressing slowly to all of my toenails. My right thumbnail started showing signs of pincer nail just within the last year and has quickly progressed to a full-on pincer nail, which leads me to believe that there's more fun yet to come with my other fingernails. I saw a podiatrist years ago (possibly 10 yrs ago) about my toes; was told matter-of-factly that it is a hereditary condition and that there is no treatment - lovely. I research the internet every few months hoping to find that there is some new amazing treatment idea out there - nothing. This condition is so unsightly and so incredibly painful. My nails are so thick that no clippers will effectively cut them. I have to work up all of my courage and sedate myself before attempting to cut the edges of my nails out of my flesh in order to achieve a couple weeks of semi-relief. I am at the point of either having all of my nails completely removed or putting a bullet through my brain (just kidding on the latter, but seriously it is THAT bad). Is there no one in this whole wide world who can come up with some procedure or drug that will return a pincer nail to a normal state? What hope is there for those of us who suffer from this condition?
  2. Jillian

    Jillian New Member

    So in five years, no one replied to this question??? I hope that LuckyMe has since found podiatrists with better answers, or found info in the web.
    I have severe pincer nails on my big toes. The podiatrist I saw recently said that this is due to the buildup of fungus under the nails. Oddly, the websites I have found about pincer nails do not mention this. They assert that pincer nails are due to wearing ill-fitting shoes, which is rather insulting. Like LuckyMe, I cannot adequately clip the nails. The methods suggested for fungus? One is dangerous and has no guarantee. One is slow and has a low success rate. Removing the toenail sounds like a better solution!
  3. KatieG

    KatieG Guest

    Hi LuckyMe and Jillian,

    I came across your posts while I'm doing a bit of research for my blog (I'm a podiatrist in the UK). In my experience pincer nails are really common and super painful. I feel for you I really do. I've been told by clients there is no comfort in shoes, bedclothes or even just having the nail there.

    From the evidence I have gathered (just personally - no scientific study carried out), there seems to be a number of reasons that these type of nails can occur; from some kind of historic trauma, abnormal physical forces on the toe, systemic conditions and basic genetics. Either way, I would imagine you just want the problem sorted.

    You are right when you say that nail surgery with chemical cauterization would fix the problem permanently . Its the only treatment that I know of that 'solves' the problem. However, this might not always be the option that you want to go for whether you don't fancy the idea of nail surgery or are not medically suitable.

    The treatment that I carry out in my clinic is focused on conservatively maintaining your nails so that they can be pain free. It involves beveling the nail so that the sides are not pressing down (in your case Jillian, I'd probably thin it through as well so there is less pressure). Its not perfect and its unlikely to cure it but it usually resolves the pain for roughly about 6 weeks - depending on how quick your nails grow. It is fairly gentle though and gives relief, which tbh is what people need. Living with any pain is no joke. Most UK trained podiatrists should be able to do this for you.

    Fungal nails are also super common - there's different types but its usually athletes foot that gets in the nail. You have to grow it out. According to the NHS the gold standard for treatment is a systemic tablet AND topical lacquer at the same time. Big toes are going to take about a year to grow out. It's also worth noting that because the infection can damage the base where the nail grows from, the nail may always grow disfigured (for want of a better word).

    I wish you best of luck with the pincer nails and sorry it took so long for any replies :)

    Katie x
  4. Jillian

    Jillian New Member

  5. Jillian

    Jillian New Member

    I wanted to thank Katie for her detailed response.
    I think I did something wrong and posted a blank reply...the website confused me. Sorry!


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