2 AnswersNail disorders are commonly diagnosed through physical exam and lab tests. A physical exam will often consist of looking at the color of the nail, feeling the texture, and comparing the thickness of the affected nail to that of the other nails. The doctor will likely ask about medical history, other symptoms present, use of nail products, and any medications you take. A sample of the nail may be taken and examined in a lab to diagnose the cause of the nail disorder. If an illness or deficiency is suspected that could be causing the problem, a blood test or X-rays may be done.
Practicing good hygiene and changing your habits may prevent certain causes of nail disorders. If you have diabetes, it is especially important to take care of your nails. Try to break the habits of biting, picking, or rubbing at your nails. Keep your nails clean and dry as often as possible. Trim nails in a straight line to prevent them from curving into your skin. Clip hangnails and bandage open cuts or tears in the nail that may allow infection into the nail area. You should make it a point to keep toenails trim; this reduces the chance for injury.
Get rid of shoes that are too tight or constricting to decrease ingrown toenails and spread of fungus among toes. Wear shower shoes in public pools and locker rooms to decrease your risk of coming in contact with fungi and bacteria. To prevent peeling and brittle nails, don't use nail polish and regularly apply a lotion with vitamins to promote healthy nails and cuticles.
2 AnswersSymptoms of nail disorders include slow-growing nails, nail ridges, nail spooning, brittle nails, unusually thick nails that separate easily from the nail bed and look yellow or green, and discolorations in the nails that include white spots, black spots, red streaks, or a whitish color. If symptoms appear in only one nail, the cause is likely due to an injury to the nail. If symptoms appear in all fingernails and toenails, the symptoms may be due to a medical problem that needs treatment by a doctor.
1 AnswerRidges in your fingernails can simply be a sign that you are growing older, or they can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Vertical ridges in the nail are common and often increase with age. Horizontal ridges in your nails can be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia or other health conditions. Experts recommend talking to your doctor if you develop unexplained ridges on your nails.
1 AnswerRealAge answered
If your toenails look thick and yellowish, you probably have an infection called onychomycosis. These infections are usually caused by a fungus but can also be caused by yeast. Those of the fungal kind, which claim about 90 percent of toenail infections, can be transmitted by direct contact or by contact with objects such as clothing, shoes, nail clippers, nail files, shower and locker-room floors, and carpets. While they are not brought on by stress, they can stress you out due to their beauty-busting presence. People who get this in their fingernails tend to have a bigger problem than those who only have it on their feet. I understand how annoying it can be, and it’s certainly not something you want to live with forever, much less spread to other nails in you and your family. Unfortunately, topical treatments usually don’t do the job, but an antifungal prescription under your doctor’s supervision such as Sporanox, Lamisil, or Diflucan that kills the wily beasts from the inside out can help do the trick. (And wear flip-flops in those germy public showers.)
From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.
1 AnswerTalk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of a nail disorder including, pain or discomfort related to your nail. Some of the symptoms that require medical attention are:
- White or blue nails
- Clubbed or distorted nails
- Pale/white or black lines
- Pain or swelling around a nail
- Horizontal ridges or dents
Changes in your nail can relate to other conditions that affect your organs. Kidney disease, lung disease, and liver disease are just a few of the diseases that create nail disorders as a symptom of a larger underlying issue. If you have splinter hemorrhages (red lines in the bed of the nail), you should see you doctor right away. These are caused by heart valve infections.
1 AnswerRed discoloration under your fingernails can be caused by a number of conditions, some of which could be serious. Talk with your doctor or dermatologist about what may be causing the redness. Some conditions that can lead to a red or brown discoloration under your nails include the following:
- A splinter hemorrhage. This vertical red or brown line under the nail can be caused by an injury, fungal infection, or nail psoriasis, or can be a sign of a heart condition.
- Heart failure. This can cause redness in the white half moon at the bottom of your nail.
- Kidney disease. This can cause the nails to have a reddish appearance beneath the surface.
Managing your nail disorder on a daily basis may require grooming, using prescribed medication, and following care instructions. Taking care of your nails by keeping them trim, clean and dry will not only prevent nail disorders but can help clear up current disorders.
Treatment of nail disorders may require the use of oral or topical medication. These will need to be applied or ingested on a daily basis, often according to a time schedule laid out by your doctor. Depending on the cause of your nail disorder, your doctor may send you home with care instructions for bandaging your nail, cleaning the affected area, or applying specially formulated clear nail polish.
2 AnswersMedications to treat nail disorders can be topical or oral. Antibiotics or antifungals are prescribed to treat underlying fungal and bacterial infections. Sometimes they are applied to the nail area through a cream or ointment, and other times they are ingested on a daily schedule.
Steroid medication in the form of cream is used to treat chronic paronychia, or inflammation, and you can soak your finger in a 1 percent acetic acid solution to treat green nail syndrome.
If water is causing the nail disorder, a cream may be used to create a silicone barrier to protect the nail from moisture seeping in. Antifungal drugs can be put in a clear nail polish to treat the nail and are often combined with oral fungal treatments.
2 AnswersAlternative treatments for nail disorders will vary upon the cause of the nail disorder. Nail disorders caused by constant rubbing of the nail, picking or biting may be alleviated by going to therapy and discovering why you bite, pick or rub at your nails.
Nail disorders caused by lack of nutrients in the body, such as low iron or vitamin D, may benefit from nutritional supplements to increase nutrients and aid healing of the disorder. Certain herbs, like tea tree oil for fungal infection or green tea for inflammation, can be applied topically or ingested in liquid form.
Acupuncture may improve the immune system and the affected nails and aid digestion. Massage may be used to increase circulation in the body, particularly to the nail. Hydrotherapy, where you alternately place your hand or foot in hot and cold baths, can increase circulation and help infection fighting blood cells reach the affected nail disorder quicker. Hydrotherapy should not be used without the supervision of your doctor. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any treatment of your nail disorder.