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Nail Disorders

What is a Nail Disorder?

A nail disorder can include any one of a number of conditions associated with the nails. These conditions can include fungal infections, bacterial infections, damage related to co-existing conditions and injury. The specifics of a nail disorder and how to treat it will depend on what condition a patient has. Typically, nail disorders are not life-threatening but they can be indicative, in some cases, of more serious underlying disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Nail Disorders

Changes to your nails due to a nail disorder will vary greatly from one condition to the next. Some signs to look for include:

  • Discoloration
  • Changes in the shape of the nail
  • Changes in the thickness of the nail
  • Brittleness
  • Bleeding around the nail bed
  • Swelling or redness
  • Pain in the nail
  • A nail detaching from the skin

What Causes a Nail Disorder?

There are a wide range of disorders and conditions that might trigger a nail disorder. Some of the most prominent are:

  • Psoriasis: For some patients with psoriasis, there can also be nail involvement that manifests as nail divots (pitting) or yellowish discoloration.
  • Eczema: For those who suffer from different forms of hand eczema, the inflammation on the hands can cause disruptions of nail growth leading to ridges to form as the nail grows out.
  • Paronychia: This is an infection of the skin around the nail. Symptoms include redness, pain, swelling and pus formation.
  • Onychomychosis: This common condition is a fungal infection of the nail, usually diagnosed by yellow, thickened and brittle nails.

If your nails are showing signs of a nail disorder, you should consult closely with your doctor to determine an underlying cause.

How a Nail Disorder is Treated


Treating a nail disorder caused by a fungus involves several interventions, including medicated nail polish, antifungal medications and medicated nail cream. Structural deformities in a nail may require minor surgery or removal of the nail. Home care for nails should always include keeping them clean, trimmed and moisturized to reduce the chances of further exacerbating an existing condition.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medicines used to stop infections created by the presence of bacteria. Learn More

Oral and Topical Medications

Dermatologists are experts in bacterial, viral and fungal infections in the skin and have a deep knowledge of how to best use antibiotics, antiviral and antifungal medications. Learn More

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