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Our nails are an important feature of our bodies. Many animals don’t have them, instead vying for claws. However, the fingernail is an evolutionary advantage for mammals as it always us to grasp items, pick things off of us (think of monkeys grooming one another), and even in self-defense.

However, while our finger and toenails are advantageous, they can suffer from conditions that make them painful, unsightly, or even both. Did you know that your nails are a function of your skin cells? That’s precisely why we, a dermatology clinic, can help you if you have a nail disorder. We thought we’d discuss the 5 most common nail disorders and diseases. If you fear you have any of these, make an appointment with us today.

Nail Clubbing

Nail clubbing might look superficial, but it’s sometimes part of a more serious problem elsewhere in your body. What is nail clubbing? It’s when your nails grow out and into a rounded shape, giving your fingers the impression that they are “clubbed” when, in reality, you simply have broad, rounded nails. While this disorder does not harm your fingers, it can be a sign of the following:

  • Pulmonary disease
  • Cardiac Disease
  • Systemic (whole-body) disorders

Peeling/Splitting Nails

Peeling and splitting nails aren’t just unsightly but can be potentially painful if your nails peel too closely to the nail bed. Fortunately, the most common cause for this condition is due to overly dry nails, which can be caused by washing your hands too frequently, using hand sanitizer too often, or overusing acetone while removing nail polish. While dry nails are easy to take care of at home, peeling and splitting nails can also be caused by the following:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Certain medication side effects
  • Underlying medical conditions

Blood clot made of red blood cells, platelets and fibrin protein strands. Thrombus, 3D illustration

Ingrown Nails

Possibly most painful of all is an ingrown nail. While it’s most common to see ingrown toenails, fingernails can also be ingrown. What is an ingrown nail? It’s when a jagged edge of the nail grows into the surrounding flesh. This causes trauma to that area, which leads to inflammation and infection. The most common cause of ingrown nails is nail-biting/tearing as well as improperly trimming your nails. We suggest you cut your nails straight across and avoid trimming the edges. While medical conditions may cause ingrown nails, it’s not common.

Yellow Nails

Waking up to yellow nails, be it on your hands or feet, can be quite alarming. Thankfully, many of the conditions that cause yellowing nails are not serious and have straightforward treatments. The most common causes of yellowing nails are:

  • Fungal infection
  • Overuse of nail polish
  • Diabetes
  • A side effect of medication
  • Weakened immune system
  • Circulation problems

Nail Psoriasis

Nail psoriasis, like other forms of epidermal psoriasis, is the result of your body’s immune system attacking your nails because it thinks it’s a foreign threat. This attack on your own body causes flaking, thick, and pitted nails that are unsightly and at times painful. Nail psoriasis is not typically serious but is chronic. A nail psoriasis flare-up can go away on its own or be treated with medication.

Are you worried about your nails? These are just the most common nail disorders, but there are many more out there. If you fear that you have a nail disorder or disease, then reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.