Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...

Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by MaxEntropy » Sat May 30, 2009 10:55 pm

My RH thumb, index, and annular fingers all have reasonably healthy nails. (The a finger has a particularly strong and fast growing nail.) However, my middle finger has a thin nail with a ridge running parallel to the direction of growth that is prone to splitting. Fortunately this ridge is on the side away from the playing edge of the nail, so that it does not directly contact the strings. However, it almost always has some degree of splitting from the edge of the nail toward the bed. When the crack extends far enough, it forms a secondary crack across the nail and I lose enough nail that I can't play for a couple weeks. This happens 4-5 times a year, and I spend a lot of time trying to "manage the damage" and keep the nail as long as possible.

Does anyone else have an issue like this? Also, have people had any luck with nail strengthening agents of any kind? And does taking gelatin supplements work?


Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sat May 30, 2009 11:32 pm

Hi "Max"!

Luckily, I don't have a problem with my fingernails. But there has been alot of discussion here about this product:


If you do a search, you'll probably find more threads about it.

Knox, the gelatin folks, have a product called "Knox for Nails". I took it everyday for a year, because I picked up a fungus from gardening and wanted my toenails to grow out faster. I did notice a difference in my fingernails, but the store I was getting it from stopped carrying it! :evil:

I've looked in all the stores around here, like Riteaid and Walgreens...none of them have it!

Good luck,



Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by Allan » Sun May 31, 2009 11:03 pm

If I had any chronic problem with fingernail quality like this I would see an endocrinologist. They would most likely order up some blood tests to see if there were any obvious problems that could affect the fingernails. By obvious problems I mean vitamin deficiencies, specifically B12 or folic acid.

I don't waste time any more with nail lotions--I think great nail care starts from the inside out. Take a look at your diet, your hydration, and a very close look at any medications or herbs you might be taking. Many seemingly innocuous medications can flush vitamins and minerals out of your system and cause troubling deficiencies.


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by diviajar » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:27 am


I got similar problem on my thumb (rh). I have to keep it really short...

I've been to a dermatologist and he told me there's nothing they can do. He advised me to massage my nail with olive oil before sleep. To be honest, I haven't tried it yet, as I had other worries in my mind, but I'll start now and I'll let you know if it changes anything.

Good luck.


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by cn90 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:26 pm

Did you ever have injury or surgery in the "m" finger?

Sometimes people have "ridged nail".
Just Google to see what it means.

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Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by oski79 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:59 pm

Max, I don't know if you'd want to do this on a regular basis, but when it starts to split across you could coat the crack with some super glue. When it hardens you can file and sand it smooth. Due to a cooking accident I'm currently doing this with my thumbnail. Or you could try silk wraps--I've never tried them but I know many here have.
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by diviajar » Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:51 pm

I've tried the superglue thing and it didn't work for me. It cracked just the same.


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by Aurore » Thu Jun 04, 2009 11:41 pm

Got those too, my RH thumb in particular and it would split lengthwise. Apparently, they are fairly common, and more noticeable with age.

The ridges grow with the nail plate forward and usually a dried out nail plate makes them noticeable.

Solution already mentioned: moisturize a lot; might try a nail and cuticle oil that has jojoba oil, vitamin E (I use Sally Hansen) as well as olive oil. I put that on the nail and cuticle area. Other members also use other products.

For the repairs: I agree glue alone on that would probably not hold; I use silk tips, but only on the forward portion of the nail so the base/cuticle area is not covered at all. Those work great for me.


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by MaxEntropy » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:13 am

Thanks all.

I've tried the superglue thing - that (and various "toughening" nail polishes) are a short term fix, but have a long term downside in that they dry out the nail and when the coating lets go, the splitting gets worse. I switched from the vitamin E and Eucerin moisterizers I was using to "Hoofmaker" based on people's posts on this forum, and I like the stuff! It not only moisturizes, it makes my nails strong and supple, albeit with a slightly cracked ridge.

I'm still waiting for my Onymyrrh to ship - and regretting having ordered it from (or however you spell it :wink: ).



Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by diviajar » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:56 pm

I had tried superglue before and it hadn't worked, but my father in law had THE superglue and it worked!!!! I'm split free!!!!!! Yupee!!!!

Harry Kiesel

Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by Harry Kiesel » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:06 pm

I doubt, as one poster suggested, that a medical problem causes a split nail. If all nails (hands and toes) were abnormal this might be a possibility but I would warn you that VERY little is known about causes of such things. The specialist most likely to be up on causes would be a dermatologist (nail is an extension of skin). Vitamin deficiences are often mentioned but, in my view, this reflects "don't just stand there, do something".


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by AsturiasFan » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:28 pm

A ridge on my annular nail, in the exact middle, caused the nail to hook slightly (what was normally the high point of the arch was depressed downward). It produced a scratchy tone that could partially be fixed by filing it very short and smooth.


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by krjames » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:23 pm

The superglue thing works reasonably for me, but I do put a layer of epoxy over the top to reinforce the joint. But if the nail has split most of the way across nothing much works.
Just cracked a nail right across making my bed. the superglue and epoxy trick lasted a day before it all broke off :( Now I am strumming badly but I suppose that is the silver lining, my sense of rhythm is sadly lacking. My teacher is, I think ecstatic but he is too polite to say so :lol:


Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by philharmonicat » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:08 am

FWIW I've had a longitudinal weakness in the middle of my RH thumbnail for as long as I can remember, probably after whacking it with a hammer. It produced a groove on the underside leading to a notch at the end with repeat splitting if I tried to grow the nail longer. I tried moisturizing, oils, Vitamin E, MSM, and nail hardener, but finally admitted defeat and tried to ignore it and play short. Meanwhile for another reason this summer I started to eat more protein, particularly fish. After awhile, I incidentally noticed the groove had disappeared! The nail is strong and has held up well for some months. Hooray! Just passing this on in case it helps anyone else. Hope this posting doesn't initiate a worldwide depletion of fish stocks. :)

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Re: Chronic Fingernail Split Along Ridge

Post by BigGingerFro » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:26 am

On the occasions that I have noticed slight damage to a nail and applied superglue, it has worked for me. Perhaps another tip is to avoid keeping the nail too long. I used to break one of my nails on occasion until my teacher pointed out that it was longer than it had to be. Just make sure that it is properly shaped and just visible over the top of your fingertip when holding your palm in front of your face. And that it feels comfortable and sounds good to you of course!
"There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot."

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