It’s not unusual for nails to change over time. While many of those changes aren’t a cause for concern, it’s always a good idea to have it checked out by your dermatologist. Fortunately, nail conditions are often easy to diagnose and treat if you get an early start. While minor nail disorders can simply affect the appearance of your fingernails, untreated nail conditions can impact the function and overall nail health.
While many people know that dermatologists treat various skin issues, patients sometimes forget that we can also help diagnose and treat nail concerns. At West Dermatology, we believe that quality dermatology care begins with patient education. Read on to learn more about the early symptoms of nail disorders and potential causes.
What are Nail Disorders?
Let's kick this off by discussing what classifies a condition as a nail disorder. Essentially, nail disorders describe various conditions that impact the look and function of fingernails and toenails. Interestingly, your nails can tell a person a lot about their general health. If you notice any changes in your nails' look, texture, or strength, you should certainly discuss that with your dermatologist. While there are numerous nail disorders out there, we will examine some of the more common nail conditions
Nail psoriasis often occurs in people living with psoriasis that begins to impact the skin on the nail beds or nearby. People with this condition often notice indentions and crumbling of the nails. Other symptoms may include:
· Nail separation
· Blood beneath nails
· Yellow or brown nails
Onychoschizia is the medical term for brittle splitting nails. People may develop this condition due to consistent wetting and drying of the nails. However, in some circumstances, onychoschizia may occur in people with an iron deficiency or another underlying disease. While a dermatologist can help diagnose the cause of the condition, you may be able to determine if it is an internal or external cause. For instance, if the condition is repeatedly drying and wetting your nails, then it is likely that only the fingernails will be impacted. Likewise, if the condition affects both your nails and fingernails, then it may be linked to an underlying internal condition.
Nail Fungal Infections
Nail fungal infections commonly impact the toenails, but can also be seen in the fingernails. Nail fungal infections can result from exposure to certain molds or fungus that get trapped in cracks in the skin near the nail bed. While anybody can get a nail fungal infection, sweat, athletes' foot, and salon manicures may put you in a high-risk category. Symptoms of nail fungal infections include:
· Nail thickening
· Nail discoloration
· Cracked nails
· Fragile nails
Onycholysis is a nail disorder in which the nail separates from the nail bed. Common causes for this condition are linked to nail injury or an underlying illness. Certain activities such as excessive filing or exposure to chemicals may be the cause of the nail separation. However, psoriasis, fungal infection, and allergic contact dermatitis may also lead to onycholysis. Other symptoms of this condition include:
· Nail discoloration
· Skin thickening
· Bending of nail edges
Paronychia is a type of infection that causes redness and inflammation near the edges of the nail bed. The disease can be classified into one of two categories: acute or chronic. Acute paronychia occurs when there is an infection resulting from trauma to the cuticle or nail fold. Chronic paronychia occurs as a result of exposure to an irritant or allergen. Common symptoms include:
Are you concerned that you may have a nail disease? If so, it's time to contact a dermatologist.
At West Dermatology, we are dedicated to helping each of our patients with all of their skincare needs. We look forward to working with you to restore your nail health.