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Peachyme99 02-25-2001 09:15 AM

Light brown vertical line on Big Toe nail
Hi, everyone. Please excuse me if this message posts more than once. I can never seem to get the hang of posting messages.

I have a thin, light brown vertical line under the nail on my big toe that was "just there" one day. It has been there for about 12 - 18 months. It seems to have perfectly straight edges. I didn't bang my toe or anything like that, and I haven't been on any medications for a couple of years. It runs from the tip of my toe nail (just off center) to the bottom of the nail to the cuticle. If I put pressure on my toe near the top right corner of the nail but on the toe itself, it's a little sore (almost like when you cut your nail too short, which I am usually guilty of doing), but only when I press on it. Besides the line, I also have thin, not very pronounced horizontal ridging that I can feel, slightly.

I've been to a dermatologist who suggested I see a plastic surgeon about it because there could be a mole underneath the nail. The plastic surgeon said he didn't know if there was a mole there and wasn't 100% positive it was a melanoma, either, so he suggested waiting 3 months to see if it went away. (It hasn't changed yet). So, I decided to get a third opinion, not wanting to wait in case it was a melanoma, and the third dermatologist doesn't know what it is either but thinks it's probably some kind of benign thing, but said she'd do a biopsy if I'd feel better about it. I'm scheduled for the biopsy in a couple of days. Any ideas what this could be? Are moles under the nail usually malignant?

Thanks for any help you can give.

<p>[This message has been edited by Peachyme99 (edited 02-26-2001).]

Marti 02-26-2001 09:08 AM

Re: Light brown vertical line on Big Toe nail
It sounds like a nail 'mole' to me. Go to my website and you will find a picture of a nail mole. I don't advise waiting an additional 3 months to 'see what happens' as it will not 'go away' without some form of treatment.

Melanonychia are vertical pigmented bands, often described as nail 'moles', which usually form in the nail matrix. Seek a physicians care should you suddenly see this change in the nail plate. It could signify a malignant melanoma or lesion. Dark streaks may be a normal occurrence in dark-skinned individuals, and are fairly common.
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Peachyme99 02-26-2001 10:23 AM

Re: Light brown vertical line on Big Toe nail
Hi, Marti. Thanks for your reply. I've already been to your web site (great site, btw) and the line under my big toe nail looks exactly like the nail on your web site only much lighter (maybe because I'm caucasion?). As I said, my biopsy is scheduled for this Thursday so maybe I'll have an idea of what it is, then. I suppose it will take a couple of weeks for the results, though.

Thanks for answering so quickly as I'm getting very nervous about the biopsy and results and would like to know what I'm dealing with. Could it possibly be from a system illness like kidney problems or endocarditis? Also, do you know what the doctor meant when she said they'd be cutting into the matrix and folding the skin back? What skin? The skin under my nail? Yuck!

Thanks again.

Marti 02-26-2001 11:43 AM

Re: Light brown vertical line on Big Toe nail
The matrix is the part of the nail unit that develops the cells that become the nail plate. The leading edge of the matrix can be seen as the lunula or the white half-moon at the base of the nail. The doctor will make an incision at the cuticle line (eponychium) and extend back toward the knuckle. They will then open up this 'cut' in order to take a sample of the 'mole' to see if it is malignant or benign. While they are in there, they generally remove the entire 'mole' so no further surgery is required. After the site has healed, you may experience scarring of the nail plate due to damage to the matrix from the mole removal. Most damage is not severe unless the mole had progressed deeply into the matrix -- in other words, if it compromised all 3 main layers of the matrix. Minimal scarring can be covered with some type of nail enhancement to improve the look of the 'new' nail. Don't panic -- it is much better to have one scarred nail than to chance losing the entire fingertip if the 'mole' is malignant and allowed to grow deep into the epidermal layers of the skin and, quite possibly, to the bone.

Peachyme99 02-26-2001 01:38 PM

Re: Light brown vertical line on Big Toe nail
Thanks for clarifying all of that technical stuff for me, Marti. You should have your own message board on that great site of yours!

Thanks again for your quick and intelligent answers.


Marti 02-26-2001 08:40 PM

Re: Light brown vertical line on Big Toe nail
Thank you so much for your nice words, and I am really happy that you visited my site and thought it useful. I have thought about a message board, but I am still working on adding much needed information, so the message board will have to wait for a while.

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