My Thumb-sucking Son Has a Hole in His Nailbed near the Cuticle-anyone Seen This

Updated on April 04, 2008
V.F. asks from Maumelle, AR
11 answers

Yesterday I noticed my son's cuticle on the thumb that he sucks was a little pink. After closely looking at it I noticed a small area of the nail pulling away from the cuticle. YUCK! I washed it, put some neosp. on and bandaged on it. (several times) This morning I examined it again to find there is a hole now to the nailbed. I'm afraid he might lose his thumb nail. Anyone experienced this?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your advice! I just got home from the Dr and all is fine! Yippee! She said it isn't infected and it isn't fungal. She seems to think it may have been mashed by something while still under the cuticle and is just now emerging. Also, because the sides are still attached, she thinks that it will not fall off but just grow out as the new nail comes in behind it. We are taking this opportunity to have a 'no thumbsucking' rule. Thanks again to all who helped!

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answers from Lafayette on

My son would suck his two middle fingers until he was about 7. His pediatrition told us to use the clear polish for nail biting and see if it worked. The clear polish like substance is very bitter tasting. Eventually it worked.

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answers from Fort Smith on

My first thought is to take him to the doctor.


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answers from Baton Rouge on

Take him to the doctor! It sounds like a fungal infection (my son had the same thing on his pinky finger), which will need prescription medicines to make it go away.

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answers from Lawton on

That happened to me once after i smashed my finger. It eventually grew out and the nail was ok.

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answers from Montgomery on

Definitely requires a trip to the doctor out of concern for infections. As for thumbsucking I just finally left my child alone. I have a 30 year old and a 20 year old who both sucked their thumbs. My oldest--we tried everything--socks, putting the hot pepper stuff on his thumb before bed. I felt so bad lying in bed listening to him cry as he would spent a long time licking off the pepper off so he could suck his thumb. He even started pulling his hair out too. We left him alone, and one day years later we were out shopping and some kids teased him and laughed. From that day on he stopped doing it in front of anybody. For years he would still suck his thumb when he went to sleep.

As for our youngest we just left her alone and she slowly got to a point where she did not do it in public much younger than our oldest, but she still does it when she sleeps. Although I don;t think she does it often. There is no cure and we think there is a primal gratification they get from sucking their thumb. Remember it is natural to breastfeed, so perhaps babies are born with the need to suck--some maybe a stronger urge than others. Yeh, I've heard it will make their teeth crooked, but ur kids teeth are fine. We just kept regular dental appointments.

There are so many things that you will face in the future children growing up---thumbsucking is so miniscule in the scheme of things.

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answers from New Orleans on

You've received very good advice so far. I used to suck my thumb when I was young, but I also grind my teeth. If your child doesn't put his/her thumb in his/her mouth all the way they might be grinding off layers of the nail itself. I haven't seen it under the cuticle but, this is also something to watch for.

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answers from Little Rock on

I haven't had a child of my own experience this, but my niece sucked on her two middle fingers instead of her thumb and that exact same thing happened to her. The Doctor told her mother to try and break her from the habit of sucking on her fingers. Eventually the nail grew back on both fingers with no problems.

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answers from Alexandria on

Although my son (2) wasn't a regular thumb-sucker at home, apparently he was sucking it at day-care while he was adjusting to being away from Mommy. I first noticed the area around his thumb was really irritated and red. Then the skin began to peel away in thin layers on the surface. This wasn't too bad, but then we noticed his nail was turning whiter and eventually began to pull away from the nail bed.
We used Neosporin and band-aids, and took him to the pediatrician a few times to check on his nails. He really wasn't sure what it was at first, but later said to treat it like a fungal infection (probably transferred from his mouth through sucking). The doctor prescribed a couple of stronger topical antibiotics and told us to continue a strict regimen with it for up to 6-7 months. A fungus can come back (and in our case it did a few times until we religiously kept up the treatments every night and morning). It never seemed to bother the baby, except he didn't like it when we tried putting socks on his hands at night to keep the medication on. After I pretended they were talking "sock puppets", he loved putting on his special medicine and socks. His infection cleared up after about 9 months, and he still loves his "sock puppets"!!

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answers from Pine Bluff on

My daughter who is now 43, used to suck her thumb. one time I noticed that it was all moldy looking and the nail was coming loose. I took her to the doctor and they cleaned it up and said the nail would probably fall off, which it did. The nail just grows back. I don't know about a hole, but you may want to take him to the doctor, or just keep it as clean as possible and wait. Good luck, J.

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answers from Texarkana on

My children are all grown, but I was a dental assistant for a pediodonist in Houston....I would take him to the dentist to have a thumb guard inserted in the roof of his is painless and it will save his teeth from protruding..and it will save his little thumb nail...I wouldn't be overly concerned about will pass and he will not suck his thumb and he will be fine..

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answers from Little Rock on

Hi V.,

My nephew, when he was little had the same problem with his thumb, and it was actually a fungus that had grown under there and required medication from the doctor. He actually did lose his thumb nail and it came back perfectly normal. I hope this helps you a little.

T. C

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