Woman's toenails fall off after fish pedicure

Woman's toenails fall off after fish pedicure

Woman's toenails fall off after fish pedicure

After a young woman's toenails started to separate from her toes, a doctor finally zeroed in on the reason: a fish pedicure, according to a report published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Dermatology. The dermatologist said it was most likely linked to the fish pedicure.

During a fish pedicure, people immerse their feet in warm water and let doctor fish eat away at dead skin.

In the new case report, the young woman complained of six months of abnormal toenail growth.

Fish pedicures are said to leave feet smoother and smelling fresher, however, these claims are "unfounded", according to Lipner, adding there are many risks associated with it.

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The fish's voracious feasting is said to help treat conditions such as psoriasis as well as beautify the skin, lending them the nickname of "Doctor Fish".

"While the mechanism of action is not entirely clear, it is likely due to the fish traumatizing the nail matrix", she told Gizmodo.

"I am not convinced at all that the fishes caused the problem", Dr. Antonella Tosti, the Fredric Brandt Endowed Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, wrote in an email. Following her pedicure, most of her toenails on both feet stopped growing and began to fall off, a condition known as onychomadesis. He explained that people who have feet where their second toes are longer than their first toe, called a Greek foot, may have nail loss when wearing high heels and pointed shoes.

The popularity of fish pedicures peaked about 10 years ago, but they are still trendy today, the report said.

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The case, as far as Lipner knows, would be the first documented instance of onychomadesis ever caused by fish. It's a typical byproduct of hand-foot-and-mouth disease, a viral infection common in children that appears as a rash on the hands and feet, so it's unclear how the infection was spread through the fish pedicure.

The report doesn't specify where the woman had her pedicure, for the sake of protecting her anonymity, but it's worth noting that the pedicures have been banned in many states in the USA, but they remain popular in China.

As for Lipner's patient, her nails will grow back, though it'll take time. Additionally, the fish are sometimes recycled from person to person, and a bacterial outbreak among the fish was reported in a 2011 investigation by the UK's Fish Health Inspectorate.

Verner-Jeffreys did comment that the fish spa phase didn't last long in the United Kingdom. According to the CDC, more than 10 US states have banned fish pedicures entirely.

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"We did have some concerns about the welfare of these animals being transported around the world, often by people with limited experience", he said.

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