General Question

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Is it normal for fingernails to grow almost three times faster than average?

Asked by ARE_you_kidding_me (15899points) May 28th, 2014

I noticed this spring that my fingernails started growing very fast. I made a small notch with a knife and then measured it at 30 days and it was around 3/8 of an inch. Google says that is way faster than normal. I can’t find much info on why this could be the case.

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9 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

Normal and average are statistical concepts. If your fingernails are growing three times faster than average, then that is by definition abnormal.

In any case, nail growth can be affected by a lot of things. Seasonal changes, dietary changes, and exercise habits can all cause fingernails to grow faster. So if you’ve recently started taking vitamins or exercising more, that could explain the change. Also, nails grow faster in the summer. I’m not sure why that is, but if you had a particularly warm spring, that could possibly influence your nail growth as well.

The bad news is that increased fingernail growth can also be caused by hyperthyroidism. So if you haven’t changed your diet or exercise routine, and if you don’t think seasonal changes are a good explanation (and I doubt they could accelerate the process that much), then you might want to see a doctor.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My last bloodwork does not indicate that and I don’t really have any other symptoms except for occasional bouts of mild anxiety.

Pandora's avatar

I agree with @SavoirFaire. If you are taking vitamin e and or d or a, those could be the reason. As for what @SavoirFaire mentioned, they do tend to grow more in the summer. Sunlight last longer in the summer and people tend to sunbathe or at least do more outdoor activities. So your body produces more vitamin D.

Also people tend to eat more fruits in warm weather. Your hair is probably growing rapidly as well. There are sometimes different hormonal phases our body goes through. Teens have faster growing nails and once they hit adulthood it slows down. I know I had to keep cutting my nails when I was a teen because it made it hard to play sports.

My nails have grown like crazy in the last month and are healthier than usual, but I have been outdoors a lot lately and taking vitamins. Pregnancy can also boost nail growth.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have been taking a cod liver oil supplement with added Vitamin D to put the vitamin A and Vitamin D ratios in an optimal range. I have been doing quite a bit of physical outdoorsy stuff lately. I just would not have though that it would have made that much difference.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I’m glad to hear about your blood work. In that case, it’s probably just the combination of season, diet, and exercise. My wife had a very similar experience when she started taking prenatal vitamins and going to prenatal yoga all the time, and it became more pronounced once she actually became pregnant (which, as @Pandora noted, is another possible factor) and spring came to our area.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Wow!. have you noticed an acceleration in the rate of growth of your hair as well? Do you have to shave more frequently?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@stanleybmanly not really but I don’t exactly look and this is the first time I actually measured the rate so it may have always been this way. I shave “when I feel like it” and get my hair cut when my wife reminds me too. My nails are not thin or brittle either, they’re strong. I noticed that they were stronger first.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Stronger nails are also associated with the various factors that @Pandora and I have mentioned (including the hyperthyroidism, but luckily it seems we can rule that one out). Like you said, maybe things have always been this way. But if both the strength and the growth have recently and suddenly come to your attention, it’s probable that something really has changed.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Unless it is something sub clinical like hashimotos then It’s got to be the vit D. My mother has long suspected she may have undiagnosed thyroid issues and It could be I suppose. My doc did say my Vitamin D was low and I needed to supplement. Thinking back this seems to have started about the same time as beginning the D. I guess a full thyroid workup at my next physical is not a bad idea just to be safe. Apparently a free TSH test may not be enough to tell.

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