My Journey as a Mother

Fingernails Falling off for no reason?

Last week, I noticed that my 5 year old daughter’s nails looked miserable. Not the regular kind of miserable after they’ve painted or played in the sand. That has fallen in the usual category now. This miserable gives a bad kind of feeling that makes a parent(s) worry if something’s really wrong.

I’ve never had this experience before with her nails or have not seen or heard much about. Worrying about other stuff is a story for a different day. Seeing her nails made me wonder if she was severely deficient and also had some worrying condition.

When I asked my husband to check, he thought the same, but he thought it might be due to playing in the sand or something smaller to think about. I couldn’t stop overthinking the possibilities, also thanks to google for listing out too many nail severity conditions. I was insanely scared.

With little to almost no help from the GP at my place, I had to request an online consultation with our child paediatrician in Chennai. He accepted and I sent him the photos of her finger nails. In our call, he told me it’s common among kids and there’s nothing to worry about.

Well, that was nice to hear, but I couldn’t stop my search right there. What makes something like this happen, then? There must be some reason after all. What could it be? It was not just brittle nails in this condition, it was peeling off from her cuticle. The entire nail is just about to fall off and it will soon.

But, why falling fingernails?

After ignoring many scary results, there came up something called Onychomadesis. After I read it, it made me think about the recent time she fell sick. When we were in India, she was severely exhausted by the heat wave.

Not sure if was just heat exhaustion back then. It could have been HFM (hand, foot, mouth disease) as well. She felt constantly itchy and exhausted for almost 5 days.

My 8-month old nephew had the hand, foot and mouth disease at that same time. A couple of months before that, my daughter had blisters all over her body. It was diagnosed as chicken pox. I was told it was common in the prime of winter here.

This is how her fingernails looked last week

Anyway, from the past week, all I’ve been doing is looking at her nails and worrying. It took me a while to address this to my parents because they’d only say that I am not feeding her enough. The last thing I want to hear is that. All I want to do is ask them if they have seen something like this with us or our cousins.

After the initial advice, my father also said that it could be due to playing in mud. He doesn’t remember seeing it with anyone. However, the takeaway from the call with him was to massage her nails. That was a good idea, it will not resolve my problem, but it might help the new nail that would grow back. I have started that for my nails as well.

How do her nails look?

Pathetic is the actual word, but I don’t want to say that to a 5 year old, so I’d stick to a bit bad. It was yellowing in some areas and was white in some. Mostly it all looked like a big air bubble was under her nail.

I had to search a while before I got information about her exact problem. In some forums, some parents had mentioned that there wasn’t any pain when they removed their child’s almost falling fingernails. However, my daughter’s was a bit different. It was still peeling off.

It hadn’t come out entirely in one week. Now, it was hanging in the corner, but was not off entirely after about a week. So, we only decided on keeping her nails as neat as possible to minimize the possibilities of her hurting herself or others.

Since she has the habit of constantly caressing my face when she’s suddenly falling in love with me or before she’s off to sleep, I had to keep myself a bit safe. My skin is sensitive and one wrong move will quickly make me angry due to the pain. So for our sanity we kept it neat.

A couple of days before her dad cut her nails to make them look safe for her. There was no nail as yet beneath her falling fingernail. Not sure how safe it is to leave it as is before the next nail grows. From what I read it is said that another nail grows completely within the next 2 months. How to handle this until then is something that I need to have a look at.

I might have to update this post in a few days or weeks to see how this is working out for her. Have you seen anything like this with your child’s fingers? How did you handle this?

4 thoughts on “Fingernails Falling off for no reason?

  1. Oh my! I can imagine the panic you must be going through. I hope you do get some peace of mind soon by getting your answers. I wish you and your family all the luck and peace 🙂

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