Help! My Pinky Toenail Grows Weird

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Are you thinking twice about getting those strappy sandals because they barely cover anything? Those can look quite sexy! But you might be having doubts because of the condition of your toenails, particularly pinky toenails. 

Sometimes our pinky toenail grows weird. It may look different from the other toenails or it looks different from what our pinky toenails used to look like. That may negatively affect your confidence in wearing open-toe footwear. 

We are here today to help you figure out why your pinky toenail grows weird. We will discuss the common reasons why it could happen and give you some tips on what you can do. We’ll talk about the other weird pinky nail appearances that you can have as a result of genetics.


Reasons Why a Pinky Toenail Grows Weird

The pinky toenail is the tiniest nail you have! Although it is small in size compared to the others, a change in how it looks can still greatly affect the appearance of your foot. 

Instead of hiding it inside closed shoes, you should figure out what has caused it to grow weirdly, especially if it wasn’t that way before.

There are a few common causes of weird pinky toenails and they are as follows:

  • Fungal Infection
  • Trauma Or Accident
  • An Ingrown Toenail

Fungal Infection

One of the most common reasons why your toenail would look weird is because of a fungal infection. With milder fungal infections, you’ll just see little changes to the toenail but they could still capture your attention. 

More severe cases are the ones that could greatly discolor or damage the toenails. Not only that, the fungal infection could spread in different areas of the body. 

Usually, the pinky toenail would appear to be thicker than usual. Its color may not be the usual pinkish one but it would turn into a yellow-brownish one. Apart from the nail itself, the discoloration could be due to the debris building up under the nail. 

The integrity or texture of the nail could be also affected. Instead of being smooth, it could appear textured because it easily crumbles. There could be ragged edges too due to the crumbling. 

Additionally, the nail could be distorted in shape. That’s because it is crumbly so the shape you cut or file it into will not hold. 

The appearance isn’t the only one that changes. It could smell foul too.

What To Do About It?

Kerasal Nail Fungus Treatment

If your pinky toenail looks weird due to a fungal infection, it is best to have it treated as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your nail. Covering it with polish just won’t work! 

There are many different treatment options for nail fungus including over-the-counter remedies like Kerasal, home remedies like vinegar soaks and hydrogen peroxide, and even laser treatment. 

But the only thing proven to work is prescription medical treatment. You can try a home remedy, but at some point, you may want to visit your doctor.

While treating your affected toenail, you should improve your nail hygiene as well. In that way, you’ll prevent introducing the fungal infection to your other nails while your pinky toenail completely gets rid of the infection. 

Eventually, your pinky toenail will go back to looking normal after the treatment. Just make sure that you’ve completely dealt with the infection or else you can expect your pinky toenail to grow in a weird way once again. 

Trauma Or Accident

Pinky toenails are located on the outer side of your foot. In that location, they are prone to be bumped or to trauma when you accidentally trip.

Ever stubbed your pinky toe? Ouch! That awful experience doesn’t only cause pain, it could also damage the pinky toe, which could cause it to grow in a weird appearance. 

When you accidentally bump your toe on table edges, there could be long-lasting damages to the roots. Similarly, the pinky toenail receives trauma when you are prone to wearing tight-fitting shoes. 

With tight-fitting shoes, the toes aren’t free enough to move. The nails are being cramped and that could cause damage to its roots. 

What To Do About It?

The best thing to do here is to avoid additional trauma to the pinky toenail. It has already received a lot! That is why it has changed the way it grows.

The toenail may heal on its own if you can avoid exacerbating the trauma. 

Check your shoes and make sure your toes can still wiggle a bit when wearing them. If they are cramped, it is possible that you are clumsier than you think, and hit your foot often.

That’s because the toes could help with your balance and restraining them doesn’t do you or them any good.

An Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail could be another reason why your pinky toenails look weird. Ingrown nails are painful and can lead to changes in the appearance of your toes. 

Pain is one of the most common signs of having an ingrown toenail. If you feel a sharp pain on either of the sides of your nail then there must be an ingrown nail. The pinky toe itself could appear swollen and reddish. 

The problem with ingrown nails is that they are prone to infection. Sharp toenails that aren’t growing like they are supposed to could cut into the skin and gid into the tissue. The cuts expose the toe to other microorganisms that could cause an infection. 

What To Do About It

Ingrown Toenail Correction

The best thing to do here is to have the ingrown nail corrected. That will greatly deal with the pain and discomfort. 

The weird appearance of your pinky toe may not actually be due to your toenail itself but the tow. The pinky toe can look red and swollen, which could make your pinky toenail look flushed. 

There are different ways on how you can correct an ingrown nail. But you have to be patient because it could take time for the nail to grow out without digging into the skin.

There are ingrown toenail kits  that you can use to correct the direction where the pinky toenail grows. As you are correcting the ingrown nail, it is important to use a cream or ointment to help prevent infection in the surrounding tissue. 

That said, you may want to opt for professional help here!

Are There Other Weird Pinky Toenails?

There are some people who have had weird pinky toenails since birth. They haven’t changed but they look weird as compared to others.

Usually, these are caused by genetics. This would include small pinky toenails, split pinky toenails, pinky toenails growing upward. 

Small Pinky Toenails

The pinky toenails are the smallest toenails. However, for some, they grow so small that they practically aren’t there. Some simply have this as part of their genetic makeup.

If you have small pinky toenails, you should be careful of the shoes you wear. They are already very small and you don’t want to make them look weirder by wearing shoes that are too tight. 

Split Pinky Toenails

Some people have toenails that look like there is a split in the middle of them. This condition is known as the “sixth toenail”. It is caused by genetics with a genetic trait that skips a generation.

If you have them, you can ask your grandparents or check if they have them too. 

Usually, the sixth toenail doesn’t really cause any harm. If it doesn’t really bother you, then you should just let your weird pinky toenails be the way that they are.

However, there’s a chance for it to get snagged. If it is prone to snagging and causes you pain, the best way to deal with it is to have it removed through surgery. 

If the nail keeps being snagged, there is a bigger risk of developing an infection. You can avoid that by just having the surgery instead of taking your chances with infection. 

Pinky Toenails Growing Upward

Some people have their toenails growing straight upward. Instead of growing outward, it goes straight up like a ski slope. This is a condition that affects people with small nail beds.

There isn’t any room for the nails to grow, that’s why it just grows upwards. 

Upward growing nails can be genetic. But they can also be due to tight-fitting shoes. When the shoes are so tight, the shape of the toenails is forced into a more unnatural shape.

That could affect the nail bed especially if you wear those tight-fitting shoes for prolonged periods of time. 

Ridged Pinky Toenail

Ridged pinky toenails appear to have a vertical or horizontal line in them. The line travels from one side to another and is raised so you can feel it when you run your finger over them. 

Ridged nails that are vertical may naturally occur as people age. There is really nothing that can be done about them. In some cases, the ridges could split the nail while in others, they may not. 

Horizontal ridges on the other hand are also called Beau’s lines. They occur as a result of other underlying conditions such as deficiency in zinc, malnutrition, heart disease, or diabetes. 

Ridge nails may look weird but they aren’t really obvious. You need to take a closer look at them to really see them. They are not painful either. 

A way to treat them is to try moisturizing the nail. Additionally, buffing the nails helps make the ridge less obvious if you are really conscious about it. 

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).