Double Nail of the Little Toe - Genetic but not Ethnic Basis?

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Double Nail of the Little Toe - Genetic but not Ethnic Basis?

Post by Arcadiaville » Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:31 pm

I am of Caucasian European descent and actually have 12 toenails due to having an extra small toenail on both little toes. Upon researching this phenomenon, it is uncommon and historically associated with Han Chinese. However, modern research has discovered a wider ethnic distribution and possible genetic basis. While it is not a major health issue, it can be an inconvenience and uncomfortable if shoes are too tight or with putting on socks. Therefore, the trait seems to confer little or no adaptive benefit and therefore may be a curious "fluke" of nature.

"A rudimentary accessory or double nail of the little toe is not rare, although only described three times before. Most cases are accidentally detected and only few patients seek help because they have discomfort or pain. Some have a positive family history, but most patients cannot give any information concerning heredity. Clinically, the nail of the little toe is abnormally wide and is split or shows a longitudinal depression corresponding to a slight protuberance of the cuticle. Histopathology shows a complete though short nail. The treatment of choice is segmental excision of the entire accessory nail unit with mobilization of the lateral skin and primary suture.

"It was thought to be a feature of Han Chinese [3], but among our patients, there was just one Han Chinese colleague who showed his feet during an observational stage. However, double little toenails were observed in dermatological practices in Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, and Thailand as well as in immigrants from a variety of other countries including Africa (Benin). Thus, this is certainly not a special racial or ethnic feature, although it has to be stated that our results do not allow conclusions to be drawn as to the frequency of double little toenails in different countries, continents and and races.
Given the rather rare self-reporting of this trait, I am curious if a stronger ethnic relationship may be determined if the underlying genetics are more fully understood. I was unable to insert a picture of my own toenail, but here is a link to another website with several pictures: ... 62b1b49d4e
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