BEFORE: Shridhar Chillal’s record-setting fingernails

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Extreme Manicure

BEFORE YOU READ: Brainstorm how having extremely long nails (like those pictured) might affect someone’s health. Explain the reasoning behind your answer.

This past July, Shridhar Chillal of Pune, India, trimmed the nails on his left hand for the first time in 66 years. Regular nail clippers weren’t up to the task, though. The 81-year-old’s fingernails had grown so strong that removing them required a small rotary saw!

Before making the cut, Chillal held the Guinness World Record for “longest fingernails on a single hand ever.” The combined length of his nails stretched a mind-boggling 9.4 meters (31 feet)—about the height of a three-story building.

ANDREW SCHWARTZ/SPLASHNEWS/NEWSCOM

AFTER: Chillal’s neatly trimmed nails, next to the amazing clippings he saved

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.

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