Chillal started growing his nails as a 15-year-old. As they grew, he began suffering pain in his hand and arm. “That kind of length puts a lot of unusual stress on the finger and wrist joints [where bones connect],” says Rachel Rohde. She’s an orthopedic surgeon in Michigan who treats skeletal problems.
Extremely long nails like Chillal’s also interfere with a hand’s range of motion. Not moving joints can cause them to become stiff, says Rohde. That’s what happened to Chillal. The strain from decades of awkwardly holding his hand left him permanently disabled. He can’t bend his fingers into a fist or open his hand completely.
After getting his long-delayed manicure, Chillal didn’t toss his nails out like ordinary clippings. Instead, he sold them for an undisclosed price to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum. They are now on display in New York City.