Nail Problems

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/02/2001  Last Updated: 01/02/2001

Patient Education

What are the common nail problems seen?

Common nail problems that occur are:

  • Nail infections and infection of nail fold (paronychia).
  • Nail problems associated with skin diseases (e.g. psoriasis).
  • Trauma to nail.

What are the common infections of the nail?

The commonest infections of the nail are fungal infections. The nail becomes thickened, brittle, or completely destroyed. Treatment consists of oral anti-fungal drugs and creams for a few months depending on the type of infection. The nail takes a longer time to return to its normal appearance even after treatment is stopped.

Other infections of the nail are caused by a virus (viral warts), which is treated by laser surgery. Bacterial infections are also commonly seen.

What is paronychia?

Paronychia is an infection of the nail fold and results from chronic nail-biting and constant wet hands that cause injury to the proximal nail fold. It is commonly seen in patients who immerse their hands in water for a long time such as housewives, cooks, and food handlers. Infection by bacteria or fungus can lead to pain and if present for a long time can lead to deformed nails. Treatment of paronychia includes oral antibiotics and avoiding prolonged wet-work and injury to the hands.

What are the nail changes in psoriasis?

The common nail changes in psoriasis include pitting of the nail, discoloration, and loss of normal luster of the nail, thickening of the nail, and separation of the nail from the nail bed.


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