Q&A

The nails on the pinky and middle fingers on my client’s hand are thickened and growing almost straight up.

Q.

The nails on the pinky and middle fingers on my client’s hand are thickened and growing almost straight up. The client used to bite her nails and has only been wearing acrylics for a few months. She doesn’t want to remove the acrylics to see if the condition goes away. Do you know what’s causing this?

A.

Your client’s nail biting habit may have permanently injured the nails; if so, nothing can be done to return the injured nails to normal. However, since only two of the nails are growing abnormally, it appears that something local is altering their growth. My “educated” guess is that inflammation of the nail matrix or nail bed is causing the nails to thicken and push up. The inflammation could be the result of bacterial, yeast, or fungal infection. Although your client probably needs to see a dermatologist, you might try removing the acrylics from her nails and clipping the two thickened and malformed nails as short as possible. Keep the nails clipped short and free of applications for about three months to allow them time to heal. If your client is unwilling to try this approach or if her nails fail to get better within three months, refer her to a dermatologist. I can assure you the nails will not get better if the acrylics are not removed.

 

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