Can Sjogren’s syndrome cause one’s toenails to fall off?

Sjogren’s syndrome can occur at any age. At first the immune system attacks the salivary glands in the mouth and the tear ducts of the eyes, resulting in dry mouth and dry eyes.

Other symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, a persistent cough, dry skin and  extended fatigue.

Men can be affected, but the disorder is more common in women and can also cause vaginal dryness.

Sjogren’s can also affect the nerves, lungs, liver and kidneys.

How might Sjogren’s syndrome affect the toenails? 

Can this autoimmune disease make the toenails fall off? 

“Theoretically yes, because it causes brittle nails, and you can injure these areas by bumping or hitting them, or wearing shoes that are too small, or even keeping your nails in the water for too long,” says Stella Bard, MD, a board certified rheumatologist with 20+ years of experience.

In fact, even a person without a condition that causes brittle nails can end up losing a toenail to trauma.

For example, if one repeatedly jogs or even walks downhill in shoes that don’t quite fit right, this can cause enough pressure on the nail of the big toe to damage it.

The nail won’t just all completely fall off one day, but over time its growth will be noticeably stunted, and it will become discolored.

As a new nail grows in, the old damaged nail will be pushed out and eventually fall off.

If one has Sjogren’s syndrome, this process from repeated trauma will more likely occur.

Dr. Bard is an ABMS board certified rheumatologist with 20+ years’ experience. Rheumatologists often deal with whole-body problems due to the diseases they treat; patients find solutions to problems they didn’t originally come in for such as body aches and poor sleep. Dr. Bard uses cutting edge and natural remedies to achieve remarkable results with her patients.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 


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