Feet

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Why do some of my clients’ toenails seem to warp with age?

Q.

Why do some of my clients’ toenails seem to warp with age? Sometimes it seems like they are taking on a shape of their own.

A.

The feet are tortured more than most other body parts, which is one of many reasons they change as we age. Decreased circulation, wear and tear, changes in the way you walk — all these factors change the way the nail is fed, abused, and biomechanically treated. Exercise will change the nail (those second toenails warp from constant bashing into your sneakers). Toenails thicken with age and may become fungal (60% of people over the age of 60 have fungal nails). After a while, constant trauma (like walking in tight shoes) can cause a fungal nail by lifting the nail bed and allowing trichophytons in. — Johanna Youner, D.P.M., is attending podiatric physician and surgeon at New York Downtown Hospital and is also in private practice in New York City.

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