Originally Posted by JMcQ
I crushed my middle and ring fingers 45 days ago while off-loading lumber from a sawmill. The emergency room stiched the nail back on the middle finger, and the stiches have since been removed. Both fingertips were broken. My question has to do with the ring finger. The nail on the ring finger turned black, but stayed intact. I have been watching it closely for signs of growth, but it hasn't moved much - I have clipped it once recently, and all the other nails 3 times since the accident. Recently the nail started turning white at the base. It looked like the half-moon was returning at first, but the color was whiter and the area is now larger. The white portion now covers the lower one-third of the nail, and seems to be progressing outward - a little bit more each day. It does not hurt, even when pressed. There were no lacerations to that finger, so I'm doubting the problem is yeast. I'm just wondering if this is part of the normal healing process, or should I be more concerned about the coloration of this nail? I'm taking 2500mg of Biotin daily in an effort to help along the healing of the nail and matrix. Any ideas on what the whiteness is?
The nail plate cells are born in the matrix and are very soft, round and filled with an inner material. When they are 'new', they are very white in color which is why the matrix is white. As they move forward on the nail plate they will lose their inner material and become flat and hard. The oldest and hardest cells are those closest to the free edge. When one receives an injury to the matrix, the cell production changes and voids can appear between the cells. These voids will make the nail plate appear much whiter than normal and the nail plate will not grow as quickly. It can take many, many months for the matrix to recover from the type of injury you describe.
Biotin is good, but you can also help 'heal' the nail by applying a good quality nail and cuticle oil that contains jojoba and vitamin E oils. The jojoba oil has the tiniest molecular structure and can penetrate the spaces between the nail plate cells, open them up and then allow the large molecule of the vitamin E to be absorbed into the nail plate as well. On its own, vitamin E cannot do much more than sit on the surface. If there is a Sally Beauty Supply in your area, you can find a bottle of Botanical Oil in the nail department. It is a 1oz bottle that sells for about $10.00. Apply a small amount to the cuticle area and massage it into the cuticle and the nail plate surface at least twice daily and always before bedtime.
45 days is not enough time for the matrix to recover, and it may never fully recover. It can take up to 6 months or more depending on your natural nail growth, for the matrix to replace the entire nail plate.