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9 Most Common Nail Diseases And Disorders

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Nail diseases and disorders are more common than you would think. Our body acts as a host to numerous microorganisms. While some of these are beneficial, most of them can cause diseases. The best way to prevent these diseases is as simple as nipping them in the bud; that is, by treating the harmful bacteria and fungi before it causes some major harm.

If, however, your nail disease or disorder has reached an advanced stage, then precautionary and preventive steps will not come in handy. You will have to seek proper medical health advice for your physician or a dermatologist.

In today's post, we offer you a list of the most common nail disorders and diseases, their symptoms, causes, and in what way you can treat the conditions.

Most common nail diseases and disorders

1. Paronychia infection

The paronychia infection occurs at the nail folds, and is caused by bacteria, fungi as well as some viruses. The nail folds, both proximal and the lateral folds, serve as a barrier between our nail plates and also the tissue surrounding it. When a break occurs in the folds, microorganisms can certainly enter and cause paronychia infection.

The the signs of paronychia infection include,

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

People who need to use water or have their hands in water for very long periods of time, run the risk of developing this infection. Be mindful, this condition is highly contagious.

2. Pseudomonas bacterial infection

When pseudomonas bacterium is trapped between our nail plate and also the nail bed, we develop the pseudomonas bacterial infection or “the Greenies”. The green color is a by-product of the infection and is primarily brought on by iron compounds.

The pseudomonas bacteria thrive in damp and moist places. Dead tissues from the nail plate are food to these bacteria.

The symptoms of the pseudomonas bacterial infection include,

  • Discoloration of the nail
  • Softening of the nail plate
  • Softening of the nail bed

3. Tinea Unguis or “Ring Worm of the Nails”

The symptoms of tinea unguis include,

  • scaling under the nail, also referred to as subungual hyperkeratosis
  • white or yellow streaks on the nail, medically the condition is called lateral onychomycosis
  • a crumbling corner or tip from the nail, medically the condition is known as distal onychomycosis
  • flaking white areas on the nail's surface, which might include pits in the nail
  • the appearance of yellow spots at the end of the nail, medically the condition is called proximal onychomycosis
  • loss of the nail

The risk factors include,

  • People who have diabetes
  • People who have a disease that causes poor circulation
  • People who are over age 65
  • People who wear artificial nails
  • People who swim inside a public swimming pool
  • People who have a nail injury
  • People who have a skin injury around the nail
  • People who have moist fingers or toes for an extended time
  • People who have a weakened immune system
  • People who wear closed-toe shoes, for example tennis shoes or boots

4. Onychatrophia or nail atrophy

The causes of nail atrophy include,

  • Skin diseases
  • Bacterial nail infection
  • Psoriasis
  • Lichen planus
  • Epidermolysisbullosadystrophica
  • Fungal nail infection

The symptoms of nail atrophy include,

  • Discoloration
  • Nail detachment
  • Shrinkage from the nail
  • Formation of pus
  • Distorted shape of the nail

5. Ingrown toenail

The most common causes associated with ingrown toenails are,

  • Wearing shoes that crowd your toenails
  • Cutting your toenails way too short or not straight across
  • Injuring your toenail
  • Having unusually curved toenails

The symptoms of ingrown toenail include,

  • Pain and tenderness inside your toe along one or both sides of the nail
  • Redness around your toenail
  • Swelling of your toe round the nail
  • Infection of the tissue around your toenail

The best way to prevent this condition is by clipping your toenails straight across and never in a curve to match the form of your toe. Also, wear shoes that fit you properly to ensure you don't develop this painful nail condition.

6. Fungal infections from the nail

Here are some common symptoms associated with fungal infections of the nail,

  • Thickened
  • Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration
  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged
  • Distorted in shape
  • A dark color, caused by debris building up under your nail
  • Smelling slightly foul

According towards the Mayo Clinic, the risk factors of those infections are,

  • Being older, owing to reduced blood flow, more many years of exposure to fungi and slower growing nails
  • Sweating heavily
  • Having a history of athlete’s foot
  • Walking barefoot in damp communal areas, for example swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms
  • Having a minor skin or nail injury or a skin condition, such as psoriasis
  • Having diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system

7. Psoriasis of nail

According to Medical News Today,

“The condition starts underneath the skin, although it tends to be seen as an skin condition.

Normal functioning skin cells reproduce every 28 to 30 days. In a person who has plaque psoriasis, an overactive immune system causes the skin cells to breed every 3 to 4 days. As a result, the visible skin appears thick and red, and it feels itchy.

Nail psoriasis often occurs with psoriasis because nails are members of the skin. They grow from the nail root, which is under the cuticle. The psoriasis forms within the nail root.”

You should consult a physician in case,

  • It causes you discomfort
  • It causes you pain
  • It causes it to be difficult for you to carry out your normal routine
  • It makes your nails look unpresentable
  • It causes joint problems
  • It swells

8. Brittle nails

Weak nails may crack and become brittle. They get chipped, and therefore, look very ugly. The three common factors that bring about brittle nails are aging, frequent exposure from the nails to water, and long-term use of nail polish and lacquers.

Certain diseases also cause brittle nails. Most common of these include, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, lichen planus, alopecia areata, anemia, fungal infection, psoriasis, lung conditions, and disorders in the endocrine.

Frequent use of astringent, nail polish removers, dehydration, lack and an extreme cold and dry environment may also cause brittle nails. Traumas and shocks may also result in nails cracking and becoming weak.

Other health problems that might have brittle nails like a primary symptom are hepatitis, jaundice, lupus or heart disease.

9. Onychorrhexis

Onychorrhexis is a vertical split within the nail plate that can be caused by

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bulimia
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anemia
  • Nail polishes
  • Nail polish removers
  • Psoriasis
  • Cold exposure
  • Trauma
  • Malnutrition

If you develop onychorrhexis, your nails will break easily since the keratin layers break down. Your nails may also peel back in layers, especially toward the cuticles. As a result of onychorrhexis, your nails might develop ridges that run from the cuticle to your nail edge. Your nails might also split.

To prevent nail diseases and disorders, there are some precautionary steps that you can take.

Make sure you always wear gloves, especially when you are handling soaps or detergents. Also wear gloves while using the harsh chemicals. If you hand-wash your clothes, then be sure to wear a pair of plastic gloves. This will help you avoid long period of contact with water, which as you now know may cause a number of infections, fungal and bacterial.

Keep the nails short. This will provide lesser surface area to the water and chemicals, and therefore, less of them will be absorbed by the nails. Use biotin to improve nail health and growth. Nails usually replace themselves in six months' time, and so it is advised by experts that you simply take biotin supplements at least for four months to see if it works. It is also advised that you visit a doctor and get the best dosage for you, instead of self-medicating.

Stay away from alcohol-based hand sanitizers always. These harsh sanitizers are drying. Rather than these, go for a moisturizing soap which not only cleanses your hands, but also helps soften it simultaneously.

That is all we have on nail infections and disorders. Have you find this guide helpful? Which of these remedies will you be trying out to strengthen your nails? Do you have any remedies that you'd like to share with us? I know, so many questions! Well, that's because we love hearing from you! The comments section is yours!

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