Not only are nails important for cosmetic appearance, but they also play an important role in each individual’s health. They primarily protect and support the tissue in our fingers and toes and they help detect many medical conditions. Nails are composed of keratonin, a hardened protein also found in skin and hair. They grow faster in the summer, quicker in men and more rapidly on dominant hand. Nail disorders generally affect older adults due to their poor circulation, use of medications and thickening of the nail.
• Digital Mucinous Pseudocyst: these lesions are bluish in color and release a clear, thick material due to the degeneration of the skin. They commonly occur at the base of the fingernail and cause deformation of the nail. Treatment includes surgical removal and/or cortisone injections.
• White Spots: these appear when the matrix of the nail has been injured or has suffered a minor trauma. These shouldn’t cause concern unless many spots appear at once, then contact Dr. Nikko to determine is there’s a medical condition involved.
• Splinter Hemorrhages: when blood vessels in the nail are damaged a red, brownish line or crack appears. This can be caused by a nail injury or by a medical condition.
• Ingrown Toenail: although it can affect the fingers or the toes, it most commonly appears in the big toenails. This condition occurs when the round nail beds curve down into the skin causing discomfort. Tight shoes, walking and improper nail cutting are factors that trigger this condition. If not treated properly, ingrown nails can lead to infections.
• Fungal Infections (Onychomychosis): a contagious infection of the nail that is caused by the same fungus that causes ringworm on the skin. If infected, discoloration, thickening, crumbling and chalkiness will occur. Treatments include antifungal lotions along with oral medications.
• Bacterial Infections: these mainly cause redness, swelling, pain and discoloration under the nail folds and are produced by an injury to the surrounding skin of the nail. Frequent exposure to water and chemicals are factors to the bacteria infections.
• Tumors and Warts: are found on the skin surrounding the nail or underneath the nail. Both can interfere with the growth of the nail and even destroy it. They can also become uncomfortable and painful. The best option is to remove the growths before they affect the use of the fingers of toes.
• Nail Psoriasis: unfortunately psoriasis can also affect the nails. Swelling, rippling, discoloration and redness on the skin beneath and/or surrounding the nail are prominent symptoms.