Thursday, January 14, 2010

For the last 11 years my thumbnails have looked like this:

(image from

As you can see, it's a pretty gross condition to have. Your nails have a washboard effect to them and are extremely thin. For years I just hid them by covering them up with my shirt sleeves or ball up my fists.
My doctors didn't know why, I was told I was lacking this and missing that.... finally I was sick of not knowing and looked online for answers. It turns out that it was caused by my constant need to push back my cuticles after they had grown back from an unfortunate accident where I ripped both of my thumbnails completely off (more on that another time). The condition is called Habitual Tic Deformity and below is an exert from one of the medical journals I found. I am happy to report that since I started wrapping my thumbnails with band-aids I have broken the "tic". My nails are coming back like normal for the first time in 11 years!!!!! So if you know anyone suffering from this, inform them that there is a reason and that it can be cured.

The following text was borrowed from : http://www.stacommunications.c

Habitual tic deformity is a common self induced nail condition that results from chronic,habitual mechanical trauma to the cuticle. The most common scenario involves the thumbnail where a patient has repeatedly picked
at the cuticle and proximal nail fold with the index finger of that same hand as a compulsive habit. The nails of other fingers can also be involved but it is
less common. The typical nail plate finding of habit-tic deformity
is many parallel transverse grooves, sometimes with yellowish-brown discoloration, running down the middle of the affected nail. In addition, the cuticle may be pushed back with redness and swelling.
Patients must be encouraged to stop their compulsive habit-tic. One simple approach is to apply tape over the cuticle and proximal nail fold so as to
remind patients to stop their compulsive habit-tic and to lessen the habitual trauma experienced
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for this post. I was in the same boat as you were before your accident -- there were all kinds of incorrect theories about my nails and why they looked the way they did. Then, I read your post and saw that the pic looked exactly like my nails. But, I was in denial that I was picking at my cuticles -- I was not conscious of it at all. Soon after, I was sitting in a meeting next to a woman who also had those same nails! I saw her lightly and repeatedly scraping at her thumbnail cuticles with her index fingers and I knew right then and there that was my issue. I vowed to stop. For me the cure started with a gel manicure in a flesh-toned color that matched my own nails, which made me feel like a normal woman with normal nails, and it kept those gross ridges from getting discolored with everyday dirt, even after washing the hands. That was the catalyst, but I knew that the cuticles needed to grow back. I stopped going to the salon because they always wanted to trim my cuticles and I simply let the gel manicure grow out. It was such a similar color to my nails that it wasn't that noticeable -- certainly not worse than my old, funky nails! I trimmed the nails regularly to keep them on the short side. Then I bought several small tubes and a small tub of Orly Cuticle Therapy Creme to keep at my desk, on my nightstand, in my purse, by the sink, etc. Every time I was tempted to pick, scrape or bite, I applied a tiny bit of cuticle creme (to thumb and fingernails). Before I went to bed or after I did the dishes, I made sure I used the cream. It became my new habit. I am happy to say that it has been four months and I am about halfway through growing in completely new nails --- and the new growth is smooth and normal!! I am continuing this method of using this cuticle cream (my favorite after trying a few), and I never, ever push back or trim the cuticles. The gel manicure only remains on the convex, ridged section of my growing out thumb nails. It chipped off everywhere else, but I guess they gave those thumbs a few extra coats. If it does chip off that section of the thumbnails, I plan to recoat those ridges with flesh-colored polish (I bought Orly Makeup for Nails) until they grow out. I know my challenge will increase in the winter months when cuticles get very dry and the temptation to pick them will be greater. But I will have to stay consistent with my regimen. I wanted to post to thank you for helping me solve this life-long issue that really affected my confidence in my appearance. Also, I wanted to show people how they can cure themselves by using this method, or an approximation of it.
    563 days ago
    Hi. Your post helped a lot, no Doctor has ever been able to answer my question about my thumbnails. Sad to finally realize that I'm the cause. But glad to wear band aids to prevent my "nervous" habit, for lack of a better word.

    How long did you wear them for?
    How long till your nails looked beautiful?
    Any follow-up advice?

    Thanks, Jason
    2908 days ago
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