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How can I prevent my nail bed from shrinking?

Q: My nail bed in the right hand middle finger has shrunk a little for the past one year. It is shorter than all the nail beds. What is the reason?

A:You probably mean to convey that the nail plate has separated from its bed, so that the pink area of the nail is smaller than what it used to be. If this is so, then you most probably have onycholysis. This could be due to mechanical insult or due to internal disorder. Sometimes, it can also be due to fungal infection (along with some other features). The treatment and preventive measures depend upon the diagnosis and its probable cause.

A:Given your query, you could be suffering from a condition called onycholysis. Onycholysis is a separation of the nail plate from the underlying and/or lateral supporting structures (hyponychium, nail bed, lateral nail folds). It is a commonly seen disorder that is usually asymptomatic. We have observed a number of cases of onycholysis in which the distal nail bed appeared to shrink. The nail bed becomes keratinized and produces dermatoglyphics like the normal tip of a digit. This may explain why it is difficult to promote reattachment. If onycholysis persists, the condition is more likely to become irreversible and form the "disappearing nail bed." The best chance of resolving onycholysis is to try to identify the causative agent and institute early therapy. I suggest you to visit a good dermatologist in your vicinity for compete evaluation and a line of treatment.

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