Broken nail


Torn nails can have a wide variety of characteristics and causes. These range from cosmetically unattractive but small tears to severe injuries; and from minor trauma as the cause to genetic disorders of the nail.
As different as their characteristics and causes are, their occurrences are just as different. The small, only cosmetically unattractive tears occur in almost everyone, whereas the genetic nail formation disorders are rather rare.


Cosmetic tears

These small tears can many causes to have. For one thing, they can, especially at long fingernails, by simple Get stuck of the nail, for example, on the zipper of a jacket or through the Bump the nail against a harder object, whereby the nail usually with the formation of small cracks breaks off.
If the nail tears very deeply and that too Nail bed with hurt, this can painful be and possibly also bleed easily. If this is the case, it is advisable to have a anti-infective ointment such as Betaisodona® ointment to apply.
As a rule, the torn nails grow back by itself out. On the bottom of a torn nail, there can be a Inflammation of the nail bed develop. If you suffer from cracked nails frequently, you can consider Nail hardener to apply and if possible to do without nail polish remover, as this can also have a damaging effect on the nails if used frequently.
To avoid torn nails you should use the Wear fingernails as short as possible and this with a Glass nail arrows care for. However, if you insist on long fingernails despite frequent tearing nails, which are mostly women, you can nail polish Instruct. If the nail is already torn and if it is not possible to shorten the nail, the adhesive part of a can be used Plaster Stick on the torn area and paint over it.

Medically relevant nail cracks

There are many causes of medically relevant nail tears.
The most common reasons are here Calcium deficiency or the Lack of vitamins.
Cracked nails can be related to paleness, Exhaustion and Tears at the corner of the mouth also a reference to one Iron deficiency be. The cracks from vitamin and calcium deficiency can be caused by a diet that a lot of fruits and vegetables contains, be corrected, whereas the iron deficiency should definitely be clarified by a doctor and if necessary with a Iron substitution can be balanced.
Especially at Women of childbearing age should be related to iron deficiency heavy menstrual bleeding be excluded. Furthermore, brittle nails can be associated with a Weight gain, one slow heartbeat (bradycardia) and or depressive moods on a underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism) Clues. Underactive thyroid can be treated depending on the cause. When the thyroid gland due to a Iodine deficiency too few hormones are usually produced iodine substituted. In the case of a kind of sluggishness of the thyroid gland, a Thyroid hormone derivative be substituted.

Systemic diseases

Some forms of psoriasis (Plaque psoriasis) do not only manifest on the Skin over the jointsbut also on the nails. The result is brittle nails that tear very quickly. The diagnosis for psoriasis is usually done by a Dermatologist (Dermatologist) performed.
The therapy of psoriasis depends not only on the severity of the disease, but also on the Age of patients. Possible therapies are here ointments containing cortisone or with more severe forms too Immunosuppressants such as Methotrexate. Psoriasis is one Autoimmune disease and can therefore easily go through a Suppression of the immune system be treated.
The disease of the rough nails (Trachyonychia) can not only be used for systemic diseases such as psoriasis or the Nodular lichen (Lichen planus), but also through chemical influencesoccur completely detached from other diseases. The nails are here brittle and usually show one longitudinal furrow. If all nails are attacked, the Twenty-nail dystrophy spoken. Hardening therapies are available for therapy Nail polishes and urea-containing ointments on.

Hereditary diseases

Cracked nails can also occur on the floor of various hereditary diseases come to the skin. With these there are more often so-called Nail dystrophies, i.e. pathological changes in the area of ​​the nails.
Generally the hereditary causes of brittle nails far less often as the "natural“Shape of the torn nails, which by a suitable maintenance are easy to get to grips with. One of these hereditary diseases is the Darier's disease, a disease the autosomal dominant on the Chromosome 21 is inherited. This means that the disease regardless of gender inherited and it is sufficient if one of the two chromosomes 21 has the mutation that leads to this disease.
It occurs in people who suffer from Darier's disease different places of infestation illness. Especially the skin is infested. The nails are mostly reddish and whitish striped lengthways, moreover, the nails can Furrows exhibit. Since this disease is a cause in human genetic material, here not treated causally become.
To relieve the symptoms in the flare-up of the disease are frequent Corticosteroids prescribed.

That too Nail-patella syndrome belongs to the rather rare occurring hereditary diseases of the skeleton and nails. This disease also becomes autosomal dominant inherited.
The symptoms of nail patella syndrome, which among the Osteoonychodysplasias counts, so it belongs to the group of malformations bone and nails, can be missing or too small nails.
If the nails are there, they usually are malformed and like to tear down. Another symptom of this syndrome is one too small or even completely missing kneecap (patella). The name also came from the symptoms of this syndrome. There is no causal therapy here either.

Further diseases of the nails

A Fungal infection of nails (Onychomycoses) is far more often than any hereditary or systemic disease.
Especially those Toenails are often affected here because the nail is often infected with fungus Athlete's foot (Tinea pedis) goes hand in hand. The affected nails usually change color brownish and partially detach from the nail bed. Besides, they will brittle and tear more often a.
It is important here that the athlete's foot is also on the nails of the hand can be transmitted if insufficient in the case of an attack on the foot hygiene is adhered to.
Athlete's foot is common in public Swimming pools or have a shower transmitted, hence the wearing of Flip-flops a good prophylaxis. If the nail cracks due to a fungal attack, the Nail shortened so that further cracking can be effectively prevented.
Against the fungal attack you can Antifungal drugs be prescribed by a doctor.

In summary, it can be said that the most common form of torn nails is just one cosmetic problem is, among the medically recognized Nail destruction (Onychodystrophy) is the Fungal attack the most common reason for cracked nails, in some cases it can be a psoriasis be the cause of this; very rarely it occurs due to hereditary Nail formation disorders tearing the nails.

Pain from a cracked nail

Inflammation of the nail bed can be very painful and those affected often suffer from severe throbbing or stabbing pain. Because bacteria get into the tissue through the wound, the body reacts with violent inflammation at the affected area and heat builds up, reddening and the finger or toe swell and can only be moved to a limited extent. The inflammatory reaction can also cause pus to develop and accumulate under the nail. Since there is little space under the nail, the accumulation of pus presses directly on the surrounding tissue and leads to severe pain.

If a lot of pus has built up, a doctor should be seen. He can puncture the affected area and drain the pus. This will reduce the pressure on the nail bed and relieve the pain immediately. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, the doctor can also prescribe antibiotic ointments, which accelerate wound healing and thus have a pain-relieving effect.

Read more on this topic: Pain under the fingernail

Treatment of a torn nail

Both fingernails and toenails can tear in different ways.
If the crack is not very deep and only affects the free area of ​​the nail that protrudes over the fingertip or the edge of the toe, the nail should be cut or filed so short that the entire crack is removed.
As the nail continues to grow, the crack should no longer be visible and the nails can be filed or cut as usual.

However, there are also cracks in the nail that extend deeper into the middle of the nail or even to the nail bed. As a rule, you do not need to see a doctor at first, even if your nail is torn deeper. However, if the symptoms cannot be brought under control yourself or if the bleeding is profuse and does not stop on its own after a while, a doctor should be consulted.

If there is bleeding of the nail bed in connection with the torn nail, this should be permitted so that dirt can be flushed out of the wound. This bleeding usually subsides on its own after a few minutes. If this is not the case, a larger blood vessel may be injured and this should be checked by a doctor. Disinfecting the wound, for example with iodine ointment, is very important to prevent inflammation. A plaster should then be put on the wound to protect it. At first nothing should be done with the torn nail. It should first grow out a little and be shortened at a later point in time.

It is important to ensure that the nail does not tear or even tear off with all measures. Therefore, the greatest caution is required when treating yourself. Especially in the area of ​​the very sensitive nail bed, which can be injured with a torn nail. As an additional measure, the nail can be provided with a nail repair plaster. These are small, clear, adhesive pads that are available in drug stores. They should prevent further tearing and serve to protect the nail. Nail polish can be applied over this so that the adhesive pad is barely visible.

During the entire treatment period, i.e. as long as the crack is visible or noticeable, care should be taken to protect it adequately with plasters. This reduces the risk of getting caught on the torn nail and further injuring it. If toenails are torn, comfortable shoes that are not too tight should be worn so as not to unnecessarily increase the pressure on the crack. A torn nail often tempts you to keep nibbling on it. This should definitely be avoided, as the crack can not only get worse, but also bacteria can get into the wound and lead to inflammation.

However, if the crack does not grow out straight away, but grows in like the ingrown toenail, a doctor should be consulted and the nail position may need to be corrected under local anesthesia.

Some people are particularly often affected by torn nails because they are very dry and brittle. This can be an indication of a corresponding nutritional deficiency or even a disease. Incorrectly manicured hands and feet are also a risk factor for tearing nails.
In the case of brittle nails that tend to tear, care should be taken to ensure that they are always properly cared for by always cutting the nails short and then filing the corners smooth with a nail file. A balanced diet with enough whole grain products and cereals is also important so that the nails are sufficiently hard.

You might also be interested in these topics:

  • Wound healing
  • Treatment of inflammation of the nail bed

Can you glue a torn nail?

To glue a broken nail, the nail is treated with a nail file and greasy residues are washed off. Put a drop of glue from the tube of nail glue on the fingernail and spread it (for example with a toothpick) on the side of the broken fingernail.

Fix the piece of fingernail that is sticking out so that it returns to its original position. The glue is allowed to dry according to the instructions. Then wipe off the excess adhesive and carefully smooth the repaired area with a nail file. For protection, you can then apply a protective top coat.

How do you fix a cracked nail with a tea bag?

There is an option to save the damaged nail with a simple tea bag. First of all, you should pretreat the nail. To do this, file the affected, unpainted nail thoroughly. You have to be careful and gentle and hold the protruding nail with another finger. You should remove any bumps on your fingernail. Then you need a tea bag, tweezers and clear (repair) nail polish and, if possible, nail glue from the drugstore.

The tea bag is cut so that the bag matches the length and width of the crack in the nail. Then you put the clear nail polish or nail glue on the break and place the piece of tea bag on it. One takes care that the piece of teabag stays exactly in place. Then you apply another layer of nail polish or nail glue to the entire crack and press the paper on. You can then paint over the area again. This should stabilize the nail crack well enough until the injured fingernail grows out.

How to fix a cracked nail with gel

Gel alone is not enough to repair a cracked nail. Prepare the protruding nail by washing your hand thoroughly and filing the appropriate nail. Then you can repair the protruding nail with nail glue or the tea bag method. To give the affected fingernail more protection, you can apply gel to the nail after this treatment

The torn nail is infected - what to do?

The nail protects the nail bed from bacteria and germs. If a nail tears deep enough, germs and bacteria can penetrate the open area and cause inflammation there. Inflammation of the nail bed is called Panaritium designated.
Under the nail lies the nail bed, which is firmly attached to the periosteum directly below. As a result, the nail bed cannot be moved and the swelling that occurs with inflammation leads to severe throbbing pain. In addition to the pain, the wound is reddened, warm and the function of the finger or toe is limited. Normally an inflammation of the nail bed is not that bad and heals on its own within a short time, but in some cases the infection can spread and lead to a fever.

To prevent inflammation of the nail bed, a torn nail should be treated properly immediately. If the wound is so deep that it is bleeding, the bleeding should be allowed to briefly allow germs to be flushed out of the injury. Then it is best to apply an ointment containing iodine, which has an antiseptic effect and disinfects the wound.

If the pain does not improve after a day or two, or if it worsens and the wound festers, it is best to see your doctor or a dermatologist. A doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointments and, if necessary, cut open the bed of nails to drain any pus that may have built up, relieving the pain. If you have a fever or you notice swollen lymph nodes, you should consult a doctor immediately.

Read more about this under Iodine as a disinfectant

When do you have to see a doctor with a torn nail?

If the fingernail is torn lengthways or injured in the nail bed, you should see a doctor. If the area of ​​the tear is bleeding or if the finger under the tear is very painful, you should also see a doctor. Depending on the cause of the nail tear, inflammation can develop, which may even require treatment. As soon as a torn nail causes discomfort or the skin underneath becomes inflamed, a visit to a doctor can be useful.

What is the best way to save a broken nail?

A torn nail is not only uncomfortable, it can also be painful and, in the worst case, even become infected. Women with long nails in particular or people with soft, brittle nails often suffer from torn nails.

It is best to use the cracked nail shorten as much as possible with nail scissors and file them so that you don't get stuck somewhere and tear the nail even further. This procedure works very well for cracks in the nail area that are not very deep.

However, if the crack in the nail also affects the nail bed, the nail cannot be cut so deep, otherwise the risk of injury is too high. In such cases, there are several ways to save the cracked nail. To Repair the crack can one Cut the strips of fabric and stick them on the nailto “cement” the crack. For this, e.g. a tea bag, paper tissues or a coffee filter. The material is cut so that it covers at least the crack, but even better the whole nail. The affected nail is painted with super glue or colorless nail polish, the piece of tissue is applied with tweezers and filed.

In drug stores are also Nail repair plasters or to receive ready-made nail repair kits with which a torn or broken nail can be treated quickly and easily. These are self-adhesive, transparent plasters that are applied to the nail and then filed into shape. A nail repair kit contains fiberglass repair strips that are attached to the crack with a special adhesive. There are also variants that contain powder instead of repair strips. Nail glue is applied to the affected nail, the finger is dipped into the powder and polished smooth at the end.

If you don't have any tools to repair the torn nail, it is enough in an emergency Piece of tape or a plastertaped over the affected nail. It is, however no permanent solution, but can prevent you from getting stuck and tearing the nail further. People who often suffer from cracked nails can also use a transparent nail polish that anabolic substances contains and hardens the nail. These varnishes are available in every drugstore or pharmacy and are used as a cure for several weeks.

The most important thing with a torn nail is to prevent the nail from tearing deeper or even tearing off completely. It should also be ensured that no dirt enters the woundotherwise the torn nail can quickly catch fire.

Nail does not grow out

The nail arises at the nail root (Nail matrix). The matrix lies below the nail moon and is protected by the cuticle on top. This is where the cells that make up the nails form anew and lead to the growth of the nail.

A torn nail can lead to inflammation of the nail bed. If the nail bed has become very inflamed and the inflammation is treated too late or not at all, this can also damage the matrix. As a result, the injured nail can no longer grow out or, in very rare cases, is completely repelled. Normally, an inflammation of the nail bed heals quickly and only a deformation of the nail occurs, which grows out over time. On the finger, the nails grow at a rate of 3-4 mm per month, so it takes up to six months for a nail to be completely renewed.

A healthy and balanced diet will strengthen your nails. In addition, the affected nail can be treated daily with a nail oil that contains vitamin E. If the nail does not grow at all for several weeks or if damage to the nail root is suspected, you should always consult a doctor.

Read more about this on our main page: nutrition

Torn fingernail

A torn fingernail is often a cosmetic rather than medical problem and is usually easy to treat. If the crack is in the white area of ​​the nail, the nail can be quickly trimmed or filed. Deeper cracks are painful and can lead to inflammation of the nail bed.
There are several causes of cracked fingernails. It is quite normal for particularly long fingernails to tear at some point, as the nail cannot continue to grow indefinitely. Many people also have problems with torn nails because the nail structure is weak and the nail is too soft. A weak nail is the result of frequent painting or the application of artificial fingernails, especially in women. But also a wrong diet and a lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to brittle nails.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Brittle fingernails - what's behind it?
  • Cracked nails - cause and treatment

Torn toenail

It is particularly uncomfortable when a toenail tears. If the nail is torn very deeply, it is best not to cut it off, but to wait until it grows out. Because toenails grow much more slowly than fingernails (0.10-0.12 mm daily on the fingers or 0.03-0.04 mm on the toes), this can take several months.

The damaged toenail may not grow out straight and a so-called torn toenail is created (Unguis incarnatus). The nail grows into the nail bed and causes severe pain and inflammation. As the ingrown nail heals, excessive tissue forms (Granulation tissue).It is best for those affected to undergo professional foot care in such a case, as an ingrown nail is otherwise a very protracted and recurring problem. If you have a torn toenail, you should also wear comfortable shoes so that there is as little pressure as possible on the affected nail and it can grow out nicely.

Read more about this under

  • Ingrown Toenail - What Works Best?
  • Toenail pain

Torn nail in the child

The thinner the nail, the higher the risk of damage. Depending on their age, children have thinner and therefore softer nails than adults. In babies, the nail is only about 0.05 mm thick, whereas in adults it can measure up to 0.75 mm. As a result, children often tear a nail.

Even in children, the affected nail should be cut back as far as possible and then filed. If the crack is deep, you can wrap a plaster around it until the crack has grown out. Children often tear off the patch, which can lead to the crack getting deeper or the nail completely tearing. It is important that the wound is properly cleaned to avoid inflammation of the nail bed. Nail polish or a nail repair kit may also be used on children, depending on the age of the child.

If the crack is very deep or severely inflamed, a pediatrician should be seen. He decides whether the crack needs to be treated with antibiotics or another form of treatment is necessary for cosmetic reasons.
However, an anti-inflammatory cream and a small bandage are usually enough. If cracked nails occur more often in children, the pediatrician should clarify whether a deficiency symptom (e.g. calcium) is the cause.

Read more about it:

  • Inflammation of the nail bed in babies
  • Vitamin deficiency