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Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically: Overview and Solution

Onychoschizia, or nail splitting down the middle vertically, is a common issue for those who frequently use their hands or engage in activities that strain their nails.

It often results from excessive pressure, nutritional deficiencies, or regular wear and tear. This guide will cover the various causes, prevention tips, and when to seek medical attention. 

8 Causes of Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically 

Nail splitting, technically termed onychoschizia, can happen for various reasons, with some leading to splits across the nail while others cause vertical splits. Let’s explore the common causes: 

Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically
Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically

Due to Nail Injury 

Fingers and nails are prone to injury, whether it’s catching them in doors, pinching them under heavy objects, or snagging them on something sharp. Severe injuries may even affect the nail bed. 

Due to Exposure to Moisture 

While keeping nails hydrated is crucial, too much exposure to water, such as spending prolonged time in pools, frequent dishwashing, or soaking hands in bathwater, can weaken nails.

Even using nail polish frequently can make nails more prone to splitting. 

Due to Nail Biting 

Anxiety often leads to nail picking or biting, weakening the nail’s strength and making them more prone to splitting. Some may even split a nail while picking at it. 

Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically
Due to Nail Biting

Due to Nail Polish 

While nail polish adds a nice touch, its constant use, along with harsh nail polish removers, can weaken nails over time. Gel acrylics are also culprits for nail splitting. Taking breaks from nail cosmetics can help prevent splits. 

Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically
Due to Nail Polish

Nail Psoriasis 

Psoriasis, a skin condition causing red, scaly patches, can also affect nails, weakening them and making them more susceptible to splitting. Signs include nail pits, discoloration, or crumbling nails. 

Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically
Nail Psoriasis

Due to the Aging of the Body 

Nails undergo changes with age, growing slower and becoming more prone to splitting and discoloration.

Both horizontal and vertical splits can occur. Supplements containing biotin and collagen are often taken to improve nail health. 

Due to Vitamin Deficiency 

Not getting enough biotin, iron, or calcium can lead to nail splitting and other changes.

Pregnant individuals may experience split nails due to increased nutrient needs for the growing baby. 


Chemotherapy medications target fast-growing cells, including nail cells. This can result in brittle, splitting nails as a side effect. 

How to Fix a Vertical Split Nail 

When dealing with vertically split nails, several home remedies can help manage the issue until the nail grows out. Here are some effective methods: 

Use Tea Bags 

Cut a nail-sized portion from a regular tea bag and use adhesive to stick it over the split nail. Once the glue sets, buff the nail and apply nail polish if desired. 

Use Nail Glue 

Apply a small amount of nail glue to the detached nail and gently press it back together. After the glue sets, you can paint your nail to conceal the split. 

Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically
Use Nail Glue

Use Fake Nails 

You can either remove the splitting portion or leave it in place and apply a fake nail. This can be done for the affected nail or all nails for a consistent appearance. 

Gel and Silk Wraps 

Similar to the tea bag method, use a nail-sized piece of silk wrap with gel to hold the nail in place. Once set, buff the nail and apply polish. 

Medical Treatment 

If home remedies aren’t effective or if the split nail is due to an underlying condition like psoriasis or a nail infection, medical treatment may be necessary.

Medications to control psoriasis or antifungal/antibiotic treatments for infections can prevent further damage to the nails and promote healing. 

How to Prevent Nails from Splitting Vertically Down the Middle 

Preventing vertically split nails involves adopting certain precautions and lifestyle adjustments. Here are some tips to help minimize nail damage: 

  • Maintain a balanced diet: While split nails are rarely caused by poor nutrition, ensuring your diet is rich in vitamins and minerals can support overall nail health. 
Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically
Maintain a balanced diet
  • Consider biotin supplements: With a doctor’s approval, taking biotin supplements, a B vitamin known for promoting healthy nails, can be beneficial. 
  • Moisturize regularly: Keep your nails and cuticles hydrated by moisturizing them regularly with a nourishing hand cream or oil. 
  • Limit water exposure: Excessive water exposure can weaken nails, so try to minimize prolonged contact with water, especially when swimming or doing dishes. 
  • Protect your hands: Wear gloves when using cleaning chemicals or washing dishes to shield your nails from harsh detergents and chemicals. 
  • Choose gentle nail polish removers: Avoid harsh nail polish removers that can strip the nails of moisture and weaken them. 
  • Take breaks from nail cosmetics: Give your nails a break from polishes and gels periodically to allow them to breathe and recover. 
  • Avoid picking at hangnails: Refrain from pulling or picking at hangnails, as this can damage the surrounding nail and increase the risk of splits. 
  • Use caution when working with your hands: Wear adequate protection and be cautious when engaging in activities that may subject your nails to physical stress or trauma. 

Incorporating these preventive measures into your nail care routine can help reduce the likelihood of experiencing vertically split nails and promote overall nail health. 

When to Contact a Doctor 

If you’re experiencing severe nail splits, it’s essential to seek medical attention from a healthcare professional. In such cases, they may need to take steps such as removing the nail entirely or stitching the nail bed. If feasible, they may also reattach the nail using stitches or adhesive. 

Contact a healthcare professional if you notice any of the following symptoms, which may require medical intervention: 

  • Distorted nails: If your nails appear misshapen or abnormal in appearance. 
  • Bluish or purplish color: If you observe a bluish or purplish hue to your nails, which could signify underlying issues. 
  • Ingrown nails: If your nails are growing into the surrounding skin, causing discomfort or pain. 
  • Painful nails: If you experience pain or tenderness in your nails, indicating potential underlying problems. 
  • White discoloration: If you notice a white color appearing underneath your nails, which may indicate an underlying condition. 
  • Horizontal ridges: If your nails develop horizontal ridges, which could be a sign of an underlying health issue. 

By promptly contacting a healthcare professional when you notice these symptoms, you can receive appropriate medical treatment to address any underlying issues and prevent further complications with your nails. 

Nail Split Down the Middle Vertically
When to Contact a Doctor


In conclusion, a nail split down the middle vertically typically heals as the nail grows. To prevent frequent splits, reduce exposure to moisture and consider nail-hardening treatments.

If the condition causes discomfort or affects daily activities, consult a doctor for treatment options that support nail health and comfort. Proactive nail care and timely medical advice are key to managing this issue effectively. 

For more insightful articles on health and wellness, be sure to explore additional blogs from Blonde Beauty.


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