In the latest study, researchers at the University of Nottingham found that trimming fingernails or toenails too often ups the risk of some nail problems that include ingrown toenails, pincer nails or spoon-shaped nails. They also highlight that the regular poor trimming of the nails can tip the fine balance of the nails, causing what is called as the residual stress across the entire nail.
It is this residual stress that further causes a change in the shape or the curvature of the nail over tome which eventually leads to serious nail problems, the researchers explained.
Lead author of the study Cyril Rauch said, “It is remarkable what some people are willing to do to make their nails look good, and it is in this context that I decided to look at what we really know about nails. Reading the scientific literature on nails I quickly realized that very little physics or maths had been applied to nails and their conditions.”
In order to investigate the cause, the researchers basically looked at the ingrown toe nails that lack a satisfactory treatment as most often the causes remain unknown. They observed certain microscopic structures that provided the strong adhesion of the nails to their beds and supported the growth of the nail forward
After considering the mechanical stresses and energies associated the researchers provided an overall nail shape equation which stated balance between growth stress and adhesive stress is disturbed i.e. quick or slow nail growth, or the number of adhesive structures changes, a residual stress across the entire nail can occur that gradually changes the shape of the nail.
The equation also revealed that the residual stress can occur in any fingernail or toenail and that the nails with large size and with flatter edge have greater stress. The research also shows why ingrown toe nails occur in big toes.
Age and changes in metabolic activity also increased residual stress and caused ingrown toenails, the study found.
“Looking at our results, we suggest that nail beauty fanatics who trim their nails on a daily basis opt for straight or parabolic edges, as otherwise they may amplify the imbalance of stresses which could lead to a number of serious conditions.”
The researchers strongly believe that this finding can be applied to farm animals and conditions that is linked with their hooves and can be life-threatening.
This finding has been reported in Physical Biology.