White vertical line on big toe nail

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I wonder if anyone can shed any light on this. I have a white line, around 0.5mm wide running straight down my big toe nail. I can't remember how long I have had this. I've been to doc who are waiting for lab tests to see if its fungal related - the first tests have come back abnormal and are doing further tests. My toe does not hurt and the nail is OK apart from the white line, but my big toe is very slightly red at top and underneath. I've done research on this and cannot find anything concrete. So, question is, what does abnormal mean in tests, and what is this white line. Thank you.

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  • Posted

    Hi Danny,

    It does sound to me as a podiatrist that you do have a fungal nail infection. That line is too thick to be just trauma, and it has crept up on you like infections do. How many of us actually pay much attention to our feet?  The parasitic fungi has got in from some small fault at the edge of the nail plate. That is normally how it enters, then it works its way into the nail bed using the overlying nail plate as protection and food!!!! Keratin is the food source of fungi. Slowly the white line has appeared as the infection procedes further down into what is termed the germinal matrix. This is where new nail cells are produced. Obviously without looking at your nail one cannot confirm the diagnosis. Open up the nail a bit and is there a strange odour? That can be a sign. Is it a bit crumbly underneath the plate and do you have any Athlete's Foot infection? It doesn't have to be itchy, but dry white flakey skin.

    Your previous lab test sounds as if it was inconclusive. Culture tests can become contaminated, or a bad  nail sample used?  Often lab tests come back negative and when I actually eyeball the nail I can instantly tell its infected!!! Best go to a podiatrist with experience in treating fungal nails.

    Hope that helps?

    Katrina W

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    • Posted

      Many many thanks Katrina. I'm very glad someone has confidently diagnosed this. When I first saw the nurse she said it was just natural how the nail has grown. And when I saw the doc, she said it was certain it wasn't fungus, but on save side do a test.

      I don't think there is any smell. And I'm quite certain I don't have athlete's foot, itchy or dry white flakey skin. I've noticed when I have been in the shower there is more of a yellow colour at top where the white line is, but after a while the yellow colour goes. I have measured the thickness and it is more of 1mm thick, so as you said it makes sense its not a trauma.

      When you said a trauma I remembered when I was 15 (now 45) a heavy steel tube slid down and went on my big toe. My foot was OK though and I could walk, so I didn't  do anything about this incident. Do you think this has anything to do with this white line now?

      So, my questions are now - the white line has gone to the bottom of the nail, is this serious, where the cells are made? If it is fungus, how is it treated and for how long? Shall I upload a photo for you to look at?

      many thanks

      Danny

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    • Posted

      Hi Danny,

      There is another thread on toenail fungal infection that you may like to look at - quite a bit of information there, I think you'll find

      All the very best

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    • Posted

      I don't know how to create links - but if you put toenail fungal infection in the search box on this site, I'm sure you'll find it!
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  • Posted

    I have had these pop up over the last few years. Sometimes I do t notice them for a while since life is very busy. By the time I do notice them, they usually are quite pronounced and growing larger. I usually, very carefully, use a blade or a dremel with a pointed rock sanding bit, to cut through the top of the nail and very carefully remove the nail over the white line. Then I keep it clean and keep cutting away the nail until it grows out. It takes a while but if fungus gets in, it can get much worse. And there are no meds needed. Just have to keep it open and clean till it grows back out. Good luck and be careful with the blades. Slow and easy
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  • Posted

    Hello. Did you ever find out what the white line was? Do you still have it? I have had one for many years and i was told its part of some medical issues and/or a genetic disorder. I have been wondering as well bc it doesn't hurt but it never goes away. I am actually seeing a geneticist tomorrow bc i have special needs kiddos and we know i actually have one genetic ossue found already.

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