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What causes nail disorders?

Nail disorders are caused by infection, trauma, diseases, improper growth, and medication. Certain infections of the nail are caused by bacteria, fungi, and viral warts. These cause deformation and discoloration of the nail. If the infection of the skin, nail, or nail bed is really bad, your nail may even fall off. Infections in other areas of your body, like your heart, may also cause the nail or nail bed to have red streaks or change color.

Trauma such as crushing the nail, constantly wearing nail polish, or wearing tight shoes can cause your nail to have ridges, become brittle, peel, or be permanently deformed. Diseases that affect how your body processes vitamins, nutrients, or waste, and those that affect hormone production may impact nail growth, color, and shape.

Medications and poisons may also cause nail disorders. Arsenic is a poison that can cause white lines and ridges to appear on top of the nail. Some medications can cause splinter hemorrhage, which is broken blood vessels in the nail bed.

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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.