How are nail disorders diagnosed?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Nail disorders such as infections, tumors, ingrown nails, and warts are diagnosed by physical exam. A doctor will inspect the nails and test for fungus. After scraping debris from under the nail, the doctor will analyze the debris to find the cause of an infection. Yeast and bacteria can cause infections and disorders. Once a cause is determined, a treatment plan can be developed. Good hygiene and maintenance can help prevent nail disorders. Keep nails clean and dry. Clip your nails but do not remove the cuticle. Consult a dermatologist for more information.


Nail 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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.