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Compulsive Toenail Picking
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Compulsive Toenail Picking

I am looking for information on compulsive toenail picking, I am not finding much information anywhere on this disorder. I remember it starting when I was in my early teens, which is when my parents got divorced, my mom got sick and I started doing drugs and drinking alcohol.

I am 44 now and it is worse than ever. I have had some major trauma in the past few years, but can't stop and I feel helpless and out of control and like there is something really wrong with me. I can't wear sandals or anything that shows my toenails. I am so depressed after I do this.

HELP!
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Avatar_f_tn
That sounds like it could be OCD or an anxiety habit. If you are anxious, picking something always seems to relieve some of your body stress... it gets you doing someting.  I bite my nails a lot and I do sometimes pick my toenails, but the worst thing I do is pick scabs.  

So if I have a pimple or scabs from a cut, they turn out to be 5 times bigger than they started and now I have beautiful scars on my face and everywhere (makeup is my savior).  So I think it sounds like an anxious habit... sometimes you don't even realize you are doing it.  

To stop you should find something to cover your toes... ALWAYS wear socks... put something jelly-like or sticky on the tips of your socks so the moment you reach for your toes you are suprised to feel something strange.  You just need to start noticing when you are doing it.  for me I keep neosporin on my scars and the moment I reach for one and feel the neosporin I realize I am doing it.

Hope this helped!  
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Avatar_n_tn
I read your post and I do something very similar when I am stressed and or depressed.  I pick at my newly pedicured toes with my finger nails.  I start out trying to even them out and end up picking them off.  I sometimes pick them off straight across, then it isnt't too bad, just short.  Sometimes, like last night, I pick off a rather large section.  That hurts like hell.  I am diabetic and I really should know better.  It really hurts afterward and I worry about someone stepping on feet.  I don't understand why I do this.  I also binge over eat.  I have been doing things like this since I was 6 or so when I started biting my nails.  I never had nails until around 12 years ago when I had fake nails put on.  I love the way they look, but as my own nails grow, I bite them from the under side.  I also pick off the fake nails when then become loose and then I bite off whatever has grown beneath.  I am 54.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I just relized that the problem I have has a name.  (CSP) compulsive skin picking.  I was watching A&E and this lady christin was picking her face and it was described as CSP.  I was floored.  I saw in her what I have been doing to myself throughout my teenage and adult life.  When I got married a year ago, my husband told me I had a problem.  I just disregarded what he was saying.  Tonight, I had to apologize to him.  My biggest problems are scab picking, face picking, and toe picking.  I guess you can say, I have it bad!
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I am at work I work nights and came across this question and to be quite honest I gave a little chuckle, it wasn't meant to laugh at you but I pick at my feet all the time, my daughter has to remind me not to. I pick so much that I draw blood and yet I keep picking. I always figured I was stressed out which I am yet I can not stop. It relieves me that I am not wierd to do this. Anyone have any suggestions on how to stop, my feet are always hurting because I do this.
Thank you wicki
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Avatar_n_tn
I pick my toenails OFF, OUT, until they are gone. Well, just the little 8, not the big 2... right now, both of my feet are throbbing and I feel like and idiot because I have done it to myself. YES I could wear socks, but then when I have a bad day or stressful evening, off with the socks and let the picking commence. My husband will lovingly swat my hand off my poor little toes, and it absolutley INFURIATES me!! What the heck?!
Overall, I am very laid back and totally functional, so I can't buy open toed shoes, is that so bad??
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 37 and have been picking my toenaiols off since I was 20.  I don't understand it, but I know it makes me feel better.  When I am stressed it is the only thing I look forward to doing.  I have a routine, a clipper I use a couch I sit on, it is strange but comforting.  I once came across a website that said it was called Oncytillomania but I can find NOTHING with that name on the web.  Let me know if you find out any more info.
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Avatar_f_tn
haha i'm so happy i'm not alone!   i pick my toenails until they are so short they are bleeding and throbbing. i hate myself for doing this, especially when i see other people wearing sandals and their toenails are so pretty! i get so jealous and mad at myself i tell myself i am going to quit and i just can't. i need help!  my boyfriend gets so mad at me because its all i do from the time i get home from work until we go to bed. he throws socks at me all the time so he can try to stop me but it doesn't work, i'll just rip those off too
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Avatar_f_tn
Im 38 and I have been picking until they bleed or there is no nail left since I was a small child.  A few years ago I had a genius idea and I went to a nail shop and has them put acrylic nails on what was left of my nails.  She was very patient and happy to do it.  Of course she couldnt use tips, but for the first time since ever I had toenails and they were pretty.  I had her paint them and I wore open toes shoes without embarrasment for the first time ever.  Eventually they grew out and I was able to keep them painted and pretty all on my own.  As soon as I stopped painting them, I started picking them all over again.  It has been 3 years and Im still picking.  Im thinking of using that sticy sports tape on my toes when I come home from work every day so I wont pick them.  I have thought about what it is that I do to my toenails and I suppose it falls under self-mutilation just like cutters do to their arms or their thighs.  Really not much different.  When I put my mind to it I can stop, I just hve to make that decision again.  I have never been treated for depression or a compulsive disorder or anything like that.  I dont like that I do it, I dont know why I do it.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am not going to bother to repeat typing what everyone else has....same toes, different foot. What I would really like to know is how can I stop the throbbing after I have picked & picked. I can't walk most of the times. And, if is not my toenails that I am picking, I am picking the 1st-3rd layers of hard skin off the bottom & sides of my heels!!! Talk about ouch!!! Exposed & bloody little nerve endings are a big B !!! s.***@****.
Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
It is so great to see that I am not the only person who does this. I have not always done this, it seems to have gotten worse over the last few years. I am currently taking medicine for depression and I think that is the reason it has gotten worse. A couple of years ago I was taking Zoloft and I picked my toes and the skin on my toes really bad then also. I am not sure if this is the reason I pick my toes but I am so ready to STOP!! I am so embarrassed when I wear flip flops or sandals during the summer and wearing socks anytime other than when I have on shoes is really annoying. I do not think mine is OCD because it isn't something that I have always done. My husband tells me I need to talk to the doctor to see if it is a side effect to the Effexor. I wish everyone luck with this issue and hope that one day there will be something that will help all of us!!

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Avatar_n_tn
I have picked my toenails since I was very little.  When I start peeling them, it gives me such a good feeling.  I asked a therapist about it.  She said its not so unusual.  She felt it had something to do with when I was a child.  She described it as a thing I could do then and really feel without being worried about others problems.  It's like it was my own time, my own feelings, seperate from what everyone else was doing.  My dad was very critical and I use to always worry about what I'd say and do and whether I'd be criticized.  I worried for everyone and still do.  I still pick them.  And I still get that good feeling, but them am disappointed when I have messy toes.  I find that getting a pedicure helps.  It costs a little bit, so I don't want to mess them up.  Maybe this will help
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Avatar_f_tn
It is somewhat comforting knowing I'm not alone here.  Family & friends just don't get it.  It's like trying to tell a smoker to just not smoke.  Like it's that simple.  Would like to find the right medication to help control the compulsive need to pick till they bleed and gone.
One time I had the nerve to get  pedicure!  It was funny because I don't know what they were saying (prbly don't want to know) but it was a guy and he looked at my toes and had to get a second opinion and  imput from the others. But basically they built me some acrylic toe nails!  I was so proud pulling out all my cute heeled sandals I never wear.  It didn't last too long though.  Of course I noticed a few were a little square and uneven so what do you think I did?  You guessed it.  Picked them all off while trying to round and smooth them out.  WHY IS IT WE CAN'T USE EMERY BOARDS AND FILE THEM LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?  I will spend an hour on 1 toe picking.  Thinking the whole time, this is ridiculous, this is ridiculous, this is ridiculous, stop stop stop!  Some ody please help.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been picking my toenails for a while now but it has become worst since i quit picking my fingernails. when i was in high school i picked my finger nails with no mercy and always felt like an idiot doing it. instead of having nice nails all i had were nasty looking screwed up finger tips. i also picked the skin that sorrounds the finger nail. at the beggining of college i called it quits and stopped my bad habit but only on my fingers. now i am desperately trying to quit picking my toenails but it is extremely hard. i do it without thinking sometimes. a couple weeks ago i quit but now im back to picking full swing. i want to have nice healthy toe nails especially for the summer. this winter i will really have to focus on ending my bad habit once and for all. stress is what causes it but i know that once i train myself to avoid it for at least 2 months i will be ok for the rest of my life. to all the toe nail pickers who read this dont give up. all we have is a bad habit that relieves stress and we should be trying to quit because doing bodily harm is not normal. open wounds can let in infections and all sorts of problems. we have toe nails for a reason so its just good to let them be. i am still fighting the good fight and hope one day to forget the pain of having picked my toe nails to the point where there is heart pounding pain. by the way i dont get infections anymore but when i first started picking i would get the most painfull puss filled toe nail infections. believe me when i say that they hurt so bad you cannot even walk. even as im typing this comment i am feeling pain in my picked nails. its just not worth it.
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Avatar_n_tn
I laughed my head off reading the comments..........because i can relate to this toe picking totally.  I have been picking my big toes since about 7 and my toes are not very nice 20yrs later.  I have made them ingrown, had an operation on them (ouch), my big toes are different shaped one small one big and the nails are totally different sized and shaped.  So don't feel bad anymore, look on the bright side like i do, where theres a will there a way, so if you have the will (one day) just stop picking and let them grow naturally. Also i have noticed i do it when i'm bored, stressed, depressed or just sitting around i get the dreaded urge.  Anyway good luck fellow toepickers and remember habits can be broken.
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Avatar_f_tn
There is an expert forum that talks about skin picking, etc a lot.  It sounds as though it could easily be ocd.  I would check out the compulsive behaviors expert forum or past posts there.
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I laughed my head off reading the comments..........because i can relate to this toe picking totally.  I have been picking my big toes since about 7 and my toes are not very nice 20yrs later.  I have made them ingrown, had an operation on them (ouch), my big toes are different shaped one small one big and the nails are totally different sized and shaped.  So don't feel bad anymore, look on the bright side like i do, where theres a will there a way, so if you have the will (one day), just stop picking and let them grow naturally. Also i have noticed i do it when i'm bored, stressed, depressed or just sitting around i get the urge.  Anyway good luck fellow toepickers and remember habits can be broken.
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Avatar_n_tn
OK, everyone has the same embarassing habit.  Now, how do we break it!  Do we all have to take up knitting to keep our hands engaged?  This is what I have considered.  My worst periods are when I am watching TV.  

Any suggestions?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi All, I agree with all of you to find such relief to find I'm not the only revolting person doing this.  I am so ashamed and embarrassed about the problem but I honestly cant stop doing it.  I have bitten my fingernails til there is nothing there - the only way I stopped that was acrylics - I havent cured the problem but at least there's a barrier to it. I pick at pimples, sores, scabs, anything and everything really.  But my most embarrassing thing is that I cant stop picking my toenails.  People ask me what happened to them and I make up completely unbelievable excuses which I'm sure nobody ever believes but at least they stop asking.  My partner must find it revolting but pretends to not notice.  I was having acrylic nails on my toes which again provided the barrier I needed but right now, they are picked so badly that there is not even anything to stick a nail tip to.  I live in Australia so it's hot, so wearing socks is not much of a help.  Besides the compulsion is so strong i just take them off anyway. I have been doing it as long as I can remember and I'm now 42. I am on meds for depression but it doesnt change this habit.  Has anyone tried therapy, hypnotherapy etc for the problem and was it successful?  I really need to stop and there must be a way.  The thought of even telling a therapist about it makes me incredibly embarrassed but if it has worked for anyone, it would be worth trying
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow-what a relief to know that I'm not the only freak who picks till I bleed, tear off toenails completely, and am just plain embarressed about my toes. Does anyone know of a support group, or something to that extent to help with this compulsive disorder? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

PS-I live on the Treasure Coast in Florida. Thanks again.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same habit and have been picking at my toenails for as long as I can remember (I'm 45). Every night as I watch TV, I find my hands digging at my toes and I don't even notice it until I have completely pulled the nail off. I have never had a manicure nor pedicure, I don't wear flip flops or sandals or have any nails to paint. It's really disgusting. For years I was in pain for days afterwards from getting infections... until I learned to use anti-bacterial medicine. I cover the area I have just destroyed as soon as I am through and definitely before going to bed. If I wake up in the middle of the night I use more. The pain is not as bad and sometimes non existent. Usually within a day and a half I feel fine. But what I'd really like is to STOP!
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Avatar_f_tn
Well now I feel a bit more normal with my quarter toenails that are always sore and bleeding! Thank you all for having this crazy habit! I just wish I knew how to stop! And I would like to know why do the nails hurt if you don't pick them!
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Avatar_f_tn
Well now I feel a bit more normal with my quarter toenails that are always sore and bleeding! Thank you all for having this crazy habit! I just wish I knew how to stop! And I would like to know why do the nails hurt if you don't pick them!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry but I actually laughed out loud at your comment! Yep I too mutilate my tonsils! I'm sitting here now having a good pick on one foot because the other foot has a tissue stuck to a toe to stop the bleeding! I love your question! How do we stop the pain? I get ip through the night and hobble around looking for pain tablets but surely the toes must become accustomed to what we do!
At least I now know there are others out in the world that do this crazy thing! I do it because it's habit! I'm not stressed, I'm not traumatized... I'm just plain silly for doing it! If I feel any kind of tough hard skin that I can pick... I'm off! Currently I have no toenails at all! I have a little kit with tweezers, scissors and band aides! Silly silly silly!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I also find it interesting that many of us are on some sort of medication for depression or anxiety..... Maybe it's got soothing to do with that?? Who knows!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
OMG just glad to know i am NOT the only one having to deal with this bad habit. The explantions said it all.  I tried wearing socks, putting band-aids on literally all of my poor little toes.  i started just a few months ago and oh my goodness it feels so good to pick them but afterwards i feel like crap man and it aches irritates or burns or something ughh!! ugh i have to stop i have to stop but i can't help it or can i ?? but how!!?? they were fine ugghhh picking one toenail leading to the next and then eventually the rest.
i mostly do it when i am sitting down or something..once they heal after a few hours i go and pick them again...my toenails look horrible:{
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Avatar_f_tn
Helpful solutions:
1. Reduce caffeine intake until you can stop it all together.
2. Stop smoking if you do; it gives you more anxiety
3. Wear socks, house slippers or shoes if you are home or anywhere, anytime you tend to pick your toes.
4. Wear gloves when driving if you bite your nails when driving.
5. Wear light gloves in bed if you tend to bite nails late at night.
6. Cover scabs with bandaids and neosporin
until they heal.
7. For the face, invest in a skin regimine that will give you results and help you not want to pick your face. Also wear gloves at time you pick your face.
8. If you bite your nails invest in store bought nails you can glue on. They are not as heavy on the nail and allow your natural nail to grow stronger.
9. Most important for all compulsive pickers: write down or keep notes in your phone of when you pick and what thoughts go through your head at the time. There are usually patterns and this will help address your issues you're ignoring. Also, when you are picking, ask yourself what you're thinking about? Something is making you anxious. Sounds kind of funny, but talk to yourself the way a friend would. And calm yourself down. Some things are out of your control and these are the things that give us anxiety. Care about the things you can control. Change your thoughts. "pick out your thoughts like you pick out your clothes." with intention.
Hope these help :) Im working on them myself but after failing, I just try again. My face picking has reduced tremendously.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm a serious picker.  I've been picking my toe nails since I was around 12 or so...maybe younger.   I do this mainly to my baby toes, as each nail bed has a little bit of nail that grows separate from the rest.  They're not ingrown nails..just some piece of the nail that easily moves away.  So I pick and pull at it, sometimes with tweezers, sometimes with my fingers.  I'll pull it right from the nerve ending until blood puddles in that little hole I made.  Even then, I don't always stop.  Sometimes, I'll continue to peel the little corner of nail until it pulls from the entire cuticle and over to the side.  Blood, blood, blood.  

I've pulled off my entire nail before, too.  I don't know why I do this, but it feels good to rip away the skin, to see that little hole, even to feel the throbbing pain-which, to me, is a good sign, that I've pulled that skin/nail from the root because whenever I don't, I feel like it's there and it bothers me.  

Right now, both my baby toes are bloody as hell, skin's torn and ripped and my toenails are nearly gone.  They should heal in a few days, but I know that I'll be right back at them.
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Avatar_f_tn
I used to pick my toes since I was in grade 5 or 6... I would peel the big toe down till was almost shaped like a triangle.  It was horrible... but for somereason it felt good...I found that painting them helped me avoid the picking... and eventually they grew out...as they grew out I would keeep painting them until they were all level again... occasionally I find myself picking my toes... in fact I stumbled on this stream right after I almost picked my toes to death lol.  I find squeezing my toes individually... till the sharp corner of my toenail presses the skin seems to relieve it.  It gives it that slightly painful feeling that im sure all avid toe pickers like... that way you are only pressing the toenail into the skin but not ripping the to shreds.  ALso using ur thumb nail down the side crease of each nail and digging a bit works... that pressure feels good and your not causing any serious damage by just pressing...  Also I remind myself how embarrassing and gross my toes would look if I picked them.  One other thing is... once my toe nails grew in... people aways remarked on how nice my feet are lol...even people who hate feet have told me i have nice feet... so that encourages me not to pick so often... and painting them does help with avoiding the picking... for the most part... i find as soon as the nail polish starts chipping I will pick... so keep your toes done up.  Hope what i said makes sense.
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Avatar_f_tn
I used to pick my toes since I was in grade 5 or 6... I would peel the big toe down till was almost shaped like a triangle.  It was horrible... but for somereason it felt good...I found that painting them helped me avoid the picking... and eventually they grew out...as they grew out I would keeep painting them until they were all level again... occasionally I find myself picking my toes... in fact I stumbled on this stream right after I almost picked my toes to death lol.  I find squeezing my toes individually... till the sharp corner of my toenail presses the skin seems to relieve it.  It gives it that slightly painful feeling that im sure all avid toe pickers like... that way you are only pressing the toenail into the skin but not ripping the to shreds.  ALso using ur thumb nail down the side crease of each nail and digging a bit works... that pressure feels good and your not causing any serious damage by just pressing...  Also I remind myself how embarrassing and gross my toes would look if I picked them.  One other thing is... once my toe nails grew in... people aways remarked on how nice my feet are lol...even people who hate feet have told me i have nice feet... so that encourages me not to pick so often... and painting them does help with avoiding the picking... for the most part... i find as soon as the nail polish starts chipping I will pick... so keep your toes done up.  Hope what i said makes sense.
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Avatar_m_tn
Glad to see I'm not alone with this problem.  To ease the pain when I pick until my toes bleed, I apply generous portions of Triple Antibiotic Ointment with Pain Reliever.  It really helps, not only the pain, but the healing too.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am glad im not the only one! I started this nasty habit when i was about 5 or 6 and its been going on for 9 years. I always cringe looking down at my stubby toes, like little fat sausages. I hate the summer and going to the beach. I am unable to wear flip flops or any other open toed shoes like my other peers. I always look at other peoples toes and think "they are constant nail bitters but how do they have such nice nails?!" Sadly, i cannot find a solution to my problem. I usually try to put polish on them but it looks rediculous considering that i get most of the polish where my skin is (note* i used this trick to beat my finger nail picking habit) Also, i hate wearing socks, at the end of the day i usually roll them off my feet and start playing with my toes and eventually find myself picking my toenails. I used to pick them until they bleed but now i can control myself to leave a sliver behind. Theres practically no nail on my piggy toes and a centimeter of nail on my big toes. I am ashamed of this habit and i truely need some help, any ideas? Please leave some useful tips and ideas thanks :)
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It is usually an anxiety response to something.  I did something similar for quite awhile.  When I began antidepressants I found that helped.  A doctor can help you figure out what might be helpful.  There are also some anxiety meds out there.  I no longer have those tics as often and they are more easily controlled.
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Avatar_m_tn
I just don't like my toenails.

There is a similar however much more severe complex where people don't feel comfortable with a limb. They try and succeed in removing the offending appendage.

Well for me it's the same BUT with my toenails go figure??
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't think it is the meds, too many people said they started as young children.
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Avatar_f_tn
If you have the condition that a limb (toe nails) offend you then you need to see a therapist. There is help out there.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, my worse time is when I am watching TV also.  Has it gotten any better for you? I recently ripped them off worse than I ever have in my life.  Would be nice to have someone to talk to about this...

Topaz63
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,

Thanks for responding to my post.  I am beyond embarrassed that I do this and always make sure that I wear shoes when people are around.  It is worse than ever now and I don't have any new information or hope of stopping.  I am too embarrassed to tell a doctor that I do this.  Any ideas? Thanks,

Topaz63
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Avatar_f_tn
It's called Dermatillomania and I have it too. I'm 20 and unable to wear sandals or cute heels. I haven't had this condition very long but I've always been a nail biter. Nobody knows I have this and all I want desperately is to stop... I have a history of generalized anxiety, panic disorder and questionable OCD, perhaps this is related to it. I think it's the body's way of "releasing" nervous energy... I just can't stop

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Avatar_f_tn
SOLUTION:  Take a photo of your feet with your cell phone and upload it as a Screensaver.  
Within two weeks, I stopped compulsively picking off my entire nails.  No more bandaids or visits to the nurse's office at work.  
The Screensaver constantly reminds me that toenail picking is abnormal
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had this habit for years. I am very embarrassed by my feet. My toenail picking is so bad that my toenails don't grow properly. In the summer time I will apply fake toenails just so I can wear sandals. I can't stop at times and it bugs me that I do it. I would like to know if there is a way to stop doing it. The urge to pick at my toenails is so bad at times. I never thought for a minute that there was anyone out there with the same problem. I now see that I am not alone.
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Avatar_m_tn
i love it i though i was the only one but thank the Lord im not so toe picking is not just me i dont have any toes nails atm..lol and im about to go on a cruise wont i look good with no toe nails...well ill try the socks..b4 i go to the dr. he is just gonna give me a pill that i dont want so socks it is..
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes, i do the same thing. I used to shave the skin off my heels with a disposable shaving razor when i was a kid. I'd take a long bath until the skin went pruny, then push down on the razor and draw it quickly accross my heel. I could remove huge swatches of skin this way, but it always grew in all patchwork looking. I would try to even it out, but that never worked. Sometimes i would cut too deep, and boy did THAT hurt. I gave the habit up for years at a time, but if i came under bad stress, would start peeling the skin off my heels. I got to be quite an expert at this, and could peel off half the heal of my foot in one piece. If i was very very carefull, I would not even bleed. The skin would just be tingley sensative and this was like "nirvana" to me.

About 5 years ago, I started pulling hangnails off of my pinky toes. I'd carefully peel them free, then rip them out with a bloody chunk of skin attached. That would bleed and bleed right through the bandaids I used, and my wife got totally pissed because of all the blood stains on the sheets.

Eventually, I got ahold of an exacto knife, and started carefully cutting the pinky toenail away from the nail bed. When I had worked all the way down to the nail bed, i just riiiiped it off along with bloody skin. What a luxury. What a mess! My toe would bleed for hours off and on. I even let the thing just bleed in on the bathroom tile to see how much blood would pool (enough to make a 4-5 inch puddle).

Here's where it gets bizzar. Once when my foot was bleeding, my little terrier dog came over and started licking my bleeding toe. It hurt, but in the "good" way that most of us know. Now and then, he would bite at the area with his little front teeth, and the sensation was indescribably delightfull. I wonder if serial killers ever realize, as i did, that what i was doing is totally insane.

Anyway, I have become an expert in wound care because of this. I can actually regenerate the skin on my heel in about 48hrs. The trick i have found, is to obtain large patch waterproof bandages. Saturate the pad with neosporin, and leave it in pace for TWO FULL DAYS. This will allow enough skin to grow to cover the exposed and painfull dermas. At this point, a lot of people make the mistake of removing the bandage ad letting the new skin dry out. BIG MISTAKE! The skin invariably cracks down to the dermus and hurts like a *****. Whats more, tat crack can take WEEKS to heal. Cracks want to keep cracking. Instead, keep the area covered with a neosporin soaked bandaid for a minimum of five days. Your feet will be normal and ready fr your next picking session!.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm nearly 40 and have had the same habits since young.  I've always bitten my nails pretty much down until they hurt or bleed (although its amazing over time how low I could bite them down to without it hurting).  I went through a phase of cutting my cuticles of with a sharp blade i had a bit like a scalpel or razor blade but stopped after too many slips where i cut my fingers.  

When younger I bit my toenails the same way and the hard skin on the bottom of my feet too.  Sometimes I'd use pins or something on the skin of my feet to lift up the top layers of skin for me to bite off.  I grew out of cutting the skin off thank goodness when maybe about 13.  When I could no longer get my toenails in my mouth I started ripping them off - with scissors or a nail file or similar.  Not all off mind you, just any bits I felt were getting long (generally meaning I could get a file under the edge to pull across).  I'm still somehow contented to get that bit too much off resulting in a bleeding toe.  My little toenails kind of grow out instead of up and so I do pretty much just rip the lot off.  I actually find it really annoying to feel any bit of long (scratchy) nail on my toenails and its like a compulsion to get it off if I can feel it.  I guess this should all be embarrassing, but I've done it for as long as I can remember so its kind of my normal.  Although I guess I don't rip whole nails off (except the pinky toes) so my nails mainly just look too short and sometimes a bit sore.  I still get pedicures and my toenails painted occasionally (even super short they look better painted) and they just paint a fake little toenail on my skin. LOL.

As for why, I don't know.  I am an anxious person by nature which may explain it.  I think now its mainly habit.  But my mum used to do the same with her feet and my 6yo son can be found biting his toenails (and he's never seen me doing that - has been years since I was that flexible)! I know a fair few people who seem to rip their little toenails off even if they leave the rest alone.
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Avatar_m_tn
I do the exact same thing! Except not with the 8 little toes.. But with the two big ones! I don't know why I do it.. It started when I was young. I know it may sound weird but it feels good after.. a bit relieved.. I'm not sure why I do this. I try hard to stop and sometimes I let them grow back but then I get I just eventually do it again.. What's wrong with me?
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Avatar_m_tn
Omg you sound exactly like me! I thought I was the only one who felt like this..I don't take the skin off my feet tho. I pull my toe nails off and I feel the exact same way as you! Is there something wrong with me?
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Avatar_m_tn
I do it too, I have no toe nails at all any more and am not even sure that if I stopped they would ever grow back, I take them off down to the root I think, and am now just picking at hard skin not nail!!!

I hide this as best I can from my husband (although he may notice and doesn't say anything) but I am too embarrassed to ever speak about it and I think he must realise this.

I'm not sure where this will ever end, i worry about my old age, I am 40 now, and worry about serious infection in my old age.

Has anyone on here successfully stopped after having removed all their nails? Did their nails ever recover ?

I am so ashamed :(
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