6 Common Fingernail problems

Your fingernails protect your fingertips from all sorts of injuries. Similarly, your fingertip area has several delicate nerves that are composed of sulfur, keratin and proteins, which makes them more vulnerable to injuries, diseases and different nail disorders. Despite being useful and more delicate, many people would still give them a little thought. Actually, there are over a thousand and one reasons why you should consider taking good care of your fingernails effectively; for instance, the fashion trends that would demand cleaner and well manicured finger nails as well as the social status and the cultural trends that value fingernails differently.


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Your fingernails too, deserve more attention and care just like your hair and skin as they are an important part of you. Besides, any change in your fingernails’ health can be a clear indicator of a major medical problem in your body, and it should be proceeded with a thorough diagnosis and proper treatment. Here is a list of some of the common fingernail problems together with their possible causes.

1. Paronychia

This is an infection of the fingernail folds that are caused by fungi, bacteria and viruses. These lateral or proximal nail folds, normally act as a barrier between the fingernail plates and the tissues surrounding it. If a break or tear occurs in this fold, then a space is created for bacteria or fungi to enter. This condition is highly contagious and it normally affects people who expose their hands in water for extended periods of time.

Paronychia 6 Common Fingernail problems

Paronychia is an inflammation of the folds of tissue surrounding the nail of a finger.

2. Onycholysis

This condition occurs when the nail is detached from the sides and the base, creating a space that can accumulate dirt under the nail. The air under the nail may in turn cause the nail to turn into a yellow, brown or grey color. Similarly, if pseudomonas aeruginosa takes advantage of the space and grows, then entire nail will turn to green before falling off. Onycholysis can be caused by a number of factors, such as inherited fingernail problems, systematic diseases like thyrotoxicosis or skin diseases like psoriasis.

Onycholysis 6 Common Fingernail problems

Onycholysis is very unattractive and can sometimes be more of an eyesore than a pain problem.

3. Splinter haemorrhages

These are linear haemorrhages that are parallel to the axis of the fingernails. They are common with anemic patients or those with vasculitis such as rheumatoid arthritis and polyarteritis nodosa. They can also be caused by trauma or hematological malignancy.

Splinter haemorrhages 6 Common Fingernail problems

Splinter haemorrhages as shown in the blue arrows

4. Psoriasis

Almost all patients that suffer from psoriasis are likely to experience nail problems at some point of the infection. The nails irregularities associated with psoriasis include transverse furrows, nail pits, roughened nails and crumbling nail plates. Nail pitting can also be linked alopecia areata if not psoriasis.

Psoriasis 6 Common Fingernail problems

A Nail Psoriasis

5. Lichen planus

This is one of the most common fingernail problems, with approximately 10% of the population suffering from it. This condition is characterized by thinning, crumbling and brittleness of the fingernails as well as the longitudinal ridging of the accentuated surface. The chronic forms of lichen planus can eventually lead to a complete loss of the finger nail plate together with affecting a number of nails. The condition is normally treated by injecting steroid at the proximal nail fold.

6. Nail tumors

This condition is caused by an infection with the human virus called papillomavirus, to be specific types 16 or 18. It is commonly experienced on the index finger and the thumb, and characterized by hyper-pigmented lesions not to mention severe pains. They are normally treated with carbon IV oxide laser ablation or Mohs’ surgery that may involve amputation if necessary.

These are some of the common diseases and disorders that might affect your finger nails. All these conditions can be prevented if you learn to take good care of your finger nails as well as maintaining the right hygiene and proper dieting.

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