How does nail psoriasis affect the body?

Nail psoriasis can affect the body in a variety of ways. Researchers think that psoriasis is caused when an individual's immune system regards healthy skin cells as dangerous substances and attacks them. As the healthy skin cells die, the body tries to quickly regenerate new ones, leading to an exponential increase in the very cycle that is causing the psoriasis. When this process affects the nails, it causes noticeable denting and discoloration. It may thicken the nails or even alter the normal nail shape. Nail psoriasis can also lead to nail brittleness, causing the nail to crumble and possibly separate entirely from the finger or toe.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Nail psoriasis affects the nail area, but it is a symptom of the autoimmune condition psoriasis. Psoriasis causes the body to produce skin cells too quickly, so they build up and cause problems in different areas of the body.

When psoriasis affects the nails, symptoms can include:
  • pits or holes in your nail
  • nail thickening
  • abnormal nail shape
  • discoloration
  • nail pulling away from the skin
  • white spots under the nail (which can be a sign the nail is pulling away from the skin)
  • crumbling nails
Nail psoriasis often accompanies psoriatic arthritis, which causes your joints to become stiff and painful. With all types of psoriasis, early treatment can keep the condition from progressing and causing you more pain and discomfort. Finding a good doctor and getting good treatment are important no matter what type of psoriasis you have. 

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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.