Nail disorders

Nail disorders

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

A nail disorder is a condition caused by injury to the nail or disease or imbalance in the body. Most, if not all, of you have had some type of common nail disorder. In some cases you can cosmetically improve a nail disorder.

Nail Facts:

    Fingernails grow an average of only 0.1 millimeter (mm) each day, whereas toenails grow 1 mm per month. Individual nail growth rates depend on age, time of year, activity level, and heredity.

  • Nails grow faster on fingers — especially on your dominant hand — than toes.

  • Women's nails grow more slowly than men's, except possibly during pregnancy.

  • Nails grow more rapidly in summer than in winter.

  • Nail growth is affected by disease, nutrition, medications, trauma, chronic illness, fever, and the aging process.

Some nail disorders and causes:

    Discolored Nails: This is a condition in which the nails turn a variety including yellow, blue, blue-gray, green, red and purple. Discoloration can be caused by poor circulation, a heart condition, or topical or oral medications. It may also indicate the presence of a systemic disorder. Artificial wraps, tips or an application of colored polish can hide this condition.

  • Onychatrophia: Also known as atrophy of the nails describes the wasting away of the nail. The nail loses its shine, shrinks, and falls. This can be caused by injury to the nail matrix or by internal disease. Handle this condition with care.

  • Onychauxis: Show the opposite symptoms of onychatrophia. Nails with this disorder are abnormally thick. The condition is usually caused by internal imbalance, local infection, or heredity. File the nail until smooth and buff.

  • Onychocryptosis: Ingrown nails are a familiar condition of the fingers and toes in which the nail grows into the sides of the tissue around the nail. If the nail is not too deeply imbedded in the flesh, you can trim the corner of the nail in a curved shape to relieve the pressure on nail groove. If it is deep they should see a doctor.

  • Bruised Nails: is a condition in which a clot of blood forms under the nail plate. The clot is caused by injury to the nail bed. It can vary in color from maroon to black. In some cases, a bruised nail will fall off during the healing process.

  • Onychophagy: Is the medical term for nails that have been bitten enough to become deformed. This condition can be greatly improved by regular manicures or artificial nails. It is not realistic to tell a nail biter to come back for artificial nails after they have grown a free edge. Artificial nails can help this person break the biting habit. There are also nail biting topically applied remedies available.

  • Hangnails: Is a common condition in which the cuticle around the nail splits. Hangnails are caused by dry cuticles and skin. They are also aggravated by improper trimming. This disorder can be solved by keeping the cuticles moisturized with oil and lotion. These can become infected and very painful.

  • Furrows: Also known as corrugations, are long ridges that run either lengthwise or across the nail. Some lengthwise ridges are normal in adults. These ridges increase with age and can also be caused by psoriasis, poor circulation and frostbite. Ridges that run across the nail are caused by high fevers, pregnancy, and measles.

  • Pterygium: Describes the common condition of the forward growth of the cuticle on the nail. The cuticle sticks to the nail plate and, if not treated, will grow over the nail to the free edge. It will take several manicures to get the cuticle back in place.

  • Leukonychia: Is a condition in which white spots appear on the nails. It is caused by air bubbles, a bruise or other injury to the nail. Leukonychia can not be corrected but it will grow out.

  • Onychorrhexis: Refers to split or brittle nails that also have a series of lengthwise ridges. It can be caused by chemicals, injury to the fingers, excessive use of cuticle solvents, nail polish removers and careless rough filing. This condition may be corrected by softening the nails with a reconditioning treatment and discontinuing the abuse.

  • Eggshell Nails: Are thin, white, and curved over the free edge. The condition is caused by improper diet, internal disease, medication, or nervous disorders. Be careful when manicuring these nails because they are fragile and break easily.

Signs and Symptoms:

    Anonychia, pachyonychia, and koilonychia, they usually occur in association with other congenital ectodermal defects.

  • Beau's lines, shedding of the nails, brittle nails, leukonychia, koilonychia, pigmentation, debilitating disease or acute psychogenic stress may produce these lesions.

  • Subacute bacterial endocarditis and trichinosis produce subungual hemorrhages.

  • In acromegaly and gigantism, the nails are hypertrophied, while in anaemia, myxedema and hypoparathyroidism, the nails are dry, brittle, thin and lustreless.

  • Dystrophy of the nails may be seen in chronic arthritis.

  • Pulmonary tuberculosis produces Beau's lines, leukonychia and clubbing.

  • Disease such as psoriasis, eczemas, leprosy, syphilis, tinea, erythroderma, alopecia areata and paronychia, they usually produce dystrophy of the nails.

  • Soft or spoon-shaped nails in chemical workers particularly, when there is constant immersion in alkalies. Pigmentation may also be seen. Immersion of nails in alkalies may cause softening, even koilonychia.

  • Subungual hematoma, ingrowing nails, claws nails, pterygium and so forth, are produced by physical trauma. Ill fitting shoes and manucuring are responsible for many a disorder.

  • In malnutrition and avitaminosis, the nails become thin and brittle, and may also be shed.

  • Nail biting, pitting, koilonychia and shedding of nails may be seen in acute psychogenic stresses. In the latter, it may accompany alopecia areata totalis.

  • Drugs - Usually produce pigmentary changes, viz., silver, arsenic, mepacrine, phenolphthalein, tetracycline, etc.

  • New Growths - Subungual and periungual warts, fibromas, melanoma and glomus tumor.


The study of a nail includes: Examination of a shape, contour, color, glossiness, translucency, consistency, deformity and structure. The later should include a study of the nail folds (both the posterior and lateral), the nailbed, the plate consisting of the root, the lunula and the body proper.


If you have concerns about your nails and looking for treatment, your general practitioner should be consulted for correct diagnosis of the cause and advice on the most appropriate treatment. Specialist help from a dermatologist may be required.

Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cart Preview

Electrostimulation May Boost Working Memory in Senior People

Electrostimulation May Boost Working Memory in Senior People

A new study from Boston University, US, demonstrates that electrostimulation may improve the working memory in people in their 70s. In the course of the study, the researchers asked a group of people in their 20s and a group in their 60s and 70s to complete a bunch of...

[WpProQuiz 1]

Featured Products

Kangoo Jumps Training: 5 Beginner Exercises

In childhood, many of us dreamed of learning to jump high. Now, after years, it became easier - Kangoo Jumps has appeared. This is one of the relatively new, but quickly gaining popularity types of fitness training. There are several advantages of jumpers. ...

read more
All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove