Nail abnormalities

Fingernail or toe abnormalities are often a sign of contagion or injury. They can sometimes be a sign of an underlying discipline. See your GP if your nails have changed in color, texture, shape or thickness and you do n’t know why .

Brittle or crumbly nails

Brittle nails are often just a sign of ageing or long-run exposure to water or chemicals such as detergents and smash polish. Wearing gloves will help protect your nails while doing work where your hands are exposed to water system. regularly applying moisturising cream to your fingers and nails will besides help protect them.

sometimes, brittle or crumbly nails can be caused by :

  • a fungal nail infection – this is often the cause of crumbly toenails and can be cleared by taking a course of antifungal tablets
  • a skin condition called lichen planus – this can just affect the nails
  • an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid – where the thyroid gland either doesn’t produce enough hormones or produces too many
  • nail psoriasis – a long-term skin condition that can cause the nails to become crumbly

reactive arthritis is a less common lawsuit of crumbly nails. It ‘s an unusual reaction of the immune system affecting the joints, muscles and other parts of the soundbox following an infection .

Discoloured nails

The most common causes of a yellow nail are fungal complete infections or nail psoriasis. yellow nails can besides be caused by any of the adopt :

  • frequent application of nail varnish
  • lymphoedema – a long-term condition that causes swelling of the skin
  • permanent damage to your airways caused by bronchiectasis  – a long-term lung condition
  • sinusitis – inflammation of the lining of the sinuses
  • inflammation of the thyroid gland, found in the neck
  • tuberculosis (TB) – a bacterial infection affecting the lungs
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin) – caused by liver disease
  • some medications, such as mepacrine or carotene  
  • chronic paronychia – infection of the nail fold

Green-black nails can be caused by overgrowth of bacteria called pseudomonas, peculiarly under loose nails. It can be treated by applying antibiotic eye drops underneath the nails or soaking the feign nails in an antiseptic solution or vinegar. Grey nails can be caused by medications such as antimalarials or minocycline. Brown nails can sometimes be caused by :

  • thyroid disease
  • pregnancy 
  • malnutrition 
  • frequent use of nail varnish

Red or yellow drop under the nail

If the discoloration looks like a drop of oil under the complete or is the color of salmon, you may have psoriasis of the nails .

Half white, half brown nails

Fingernails that are one-half white and half brown ( brown near the tips ) can be a sign of kidney failure, where the kidneys stop working by rights. It ‘s estimated up to 40 per penny of people with kidney failure have ’ half-and-half ’ fingernails. They besides sometimes occur in people with AIDS and those who ‘ve had chemotherapy .

White nails

If most of the nail has turned white and it is n’t because it has become detached from the complete bed, it ‘s likely to be either a fungal nail infection or a polarity of decreased blood provision to the nail down bed, which causes something known as ’ Terry ‘s breeze through ’. Terry ‘s nails are typically whiten with redden or dark tips and can be a sign of a wide range of medical conditions, including :

  • liver cirrhosis (scarring and damage to the liver) – about 80 per cent of people with cirrhosis have Terry’s nails
  • liver, kidney or heart failure
  • diabetes
  • iron-deficiency anaemia – where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduced number of red blood cells
  • chemotherapy
  • an overactive thyroid – where the thyroid gland produces too many hormones
  • malnutrition 

Thickened, overgrown nails

A common cause of calloused nails is a fungal collar infection. This can besides cause them to discolour and become crumbly ( see above ). other possible causes of thickened or overgrown nails are :

  • psoriasis – a long-term condition that tends to also cause red, flaky patches of skin
  • long-term pressure from shoes that are either too small or too narrow over the toes
  • reactive arthritis – where the immune system attacks the joints, muscles and other parts of the body following an infection

Severely overgrown horn-like nails

sometimes, the toenails become then overgrow and thickened that they resemble claws and are difficult to cut with conventional nail clippers. This nail down disorderliness, known as onychogryphosis ( ’ force ‘s horn nails ’ ), is seen in older people or as a reception to long-run press on the nails. regular podiatry can help, but sometimes the nails need to be removed by a chiropodist or doctor .

Loose nails

It ‘s normal for a toe to come easy and fall off after an injury to the toe. Another coarse cause of a loosen nail is over-manicuring the nails and cleaning underneath them with a acute object. Less normally, a unaffixed nail may be a sign of one of the follow health conditions :

  • a fungal nail infection
  • psoriasis of the nail
  • warts that cluster around the fingernail
  • an overactive thyroid
  • sarcoidosis – a condition where small clumps of cells form in the organs and tissues of the body
  • amyloidosis – where protein builds up in the organs
  • a problem with the connective tissue fibres in the body that support the organs and body tissues
  • poor circulation – for example, caused by smoking or Raynaud’s phenomenon (a condition where the blood supply to the fingers and toes is affected, causing them to turn white) 
  • an allergic reaction to medicine (usually to a type of antibiotic) or nail cosmetics

A loose smash should be cut back to where it ‘s detached to allow the nail to become reattached as it grows. You should n’t clean your nails with anything other than a soft nailbrush .

Indented spoon-shaped nails (koilonychia)

If your fingernails curve inwards like spoons ( koilonychia ), you may have one of the postdate disorders :

  • iron-deficiency anaemia
  • haemochromatosis – where the body retains too much iron
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • lupus erythematosus – a rare condition where the immune system attacks the body’s cells, tissues and organs

Pitting or dents on the nails

Pitting or small dents on the surface of your nails can be a signboard of any of the follow conditions :

  • psoriasis
  • eczema – a long-term skin condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked 
  • reactive arthritis
  • alopecia areata – a condition that causes temporary bald patches on the scalp that are about the size of a large coin

Grooves across the fingernails (Beau’s lines)

bass lines or grooves that go from left to right across the nail down are known as Beau ‘s lines. They may occur as a result of :

  • a previous illness – the line forms at the time of the illness 
  • having chemotherapy
  • a previous injury
  • previous exposure to very cold temperatures, if you have Raynaud’s phenomenon

Illness, wound or cold temperatures can interrupt nail emergence and cause smash grooves to form at the base of the nails. The grooves tend to merely be noticed a few months belated. This is when the nails have grown and the grooves have moved up the nails to become visible. It takes about four to six months for a fingernail to fully grow out. Six to 12 months for a toe to amply grow out.

Unusually curved fingertips and nails

club of the fingertips means the tissue beneath the nails thickens and the fingertips become polish and bellied. The fingernails curve over the round fingertips. Clubbing is thought to be caused by increased blood run to the fingertips. It can run in families and be completely harmless. If it suddenly develops, it may be a signboard of one of many possible aesculapian conditions, including :

White lines running across nails

White spots or streaks are normal and nothing to worry approximately. Parallel white lines that extend all the direction across the nails, known as Muehrcke ‘s lines, are a sign of low levels of protein in the blood. In line to Beau ‘s lines, they ‘re not grooved. They can occur as a resultant role of liver-colored disease or malnutrition .

Dark stripes running down the nail

Dark stripes running down the nails ( linear melanonychia ) are fairly common in black people over 20 years of age. In most cases it ‘s perfectly normal. Dark stripes should n’t be ignored. This is because it can sometimes be a form of hide cancer that affects the nail bed, called subungual melanoma. It ‘s important that your doctor checks it to rule out melanoma. Subungual melanoma normally entirely affects one nail. It will besides cause the chevron to change in appearance. For example, it may become wide-eyed or dark over time and the pigmentation may besides affect the besiege skin ( the pinpoint fold ) .

Red or brown little streaks under the nails

If you have little red or brown streaks underneath your nails, it ‘s likely they ‘re sliver haemorrhages – lines of rake caused by bantam damaged blood vessels. A few splinters under one nail are nothing to worry about. They are most likely caused by an injury of the nail. If many nails are affected, the splinters may be a sign of the zodiac of lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, an infection of the heart valves ( endocarditis ) or another fundamental discipline .

A destroyed nail

Nails can be destroyed by :

  • injury, including nail biting
  • skin conditions, such as psoriasis or lichen planus
  • overgrowth of the surrounding tissues, which is usually harmless –  for example, caused by a wart or verruca
  • overgrowth of the surrounding tissues caused by skin cancer (this is rare)
  • nail patella syndrome – a rare genetic condition which may cause missing nails, usually at birth 

See your GP if one of your nails is destroyed and you do n’t remember injuring it .

Painful, red and swollen nail fold (paronychia)

Paronychia is inflammation of the breeze through fold ( the skin and cushy tissue that frames and supports the smash ). It ‘s most normally caused by infection, wound or annoyance. sometimes, it ‘s associated with an underlying skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis, or another checkup condition, such as diabetes or HIV. Paronychia can develop over a few hours ( acuate paronychia ). If it lasts for more than six weeks, it ‘s known as chronic paronychia .

Acute paronychia

Acute infectious paronychia normally starts after a minor injury to the breeze through fold, such as from nail bite, picking or manicures. The affect area is red, warm, tender and swell. After a while, pus can form around the nail down and may lift the collar. Acute paronychia is often the solution of a Staphylococcus infection. Your GP will advise you of the best treatment. treatment for acute accent paronychia includes antibiotic creams or tablets. If there ‘s a large total of pus, surgically draining it can help. With treatment, an septic collar fold can clear up in a few days. If it is n’t treated or does n’t respond to treatment, the problem can become long-run ( chronic ) .

Chronic paronychia

Chronic paronychia frequently affects people who have their hands in water for retentive periods, or come into contact with chemicals, such as cleaners, bartenders, canteen staff or fishmongers. It may start in one breeze through fold but can affect several fingers. The affected nail down folds are swollen. They may be red and afflictive from prison term to time, often after photograph to water. The complete plate gradually becomes thickened and ridged as it grows. It may become yellow or green and brittle. See your GP if the condition is severe. They may prescribe antibiotic creams or tablets. In some cases, they may refer you to a dermatologist ( bark specialist ).

It can take months for chronic paronychia to clear. It can take up to a year after that for your nails to return to normal. Keeping your hands dry and warm, using demulcent hand cream frequently and not biting or picking your nails can help .

More useful links

The data on this page has been adapted from original content from the NHS web site. For further data attend terms and conditions .

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Category : Nail tips

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