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Common Nail Conditions

Pitted nails

Pitting on the surface of the fingernails may be a sign of any of the following conditions:

  • psoriasis – a long-term condition that tends to also cause red, flaky patches of skin
  • eczema – a long-term skin condition
  • reactive arthritis – where the immune system attacks the joints, muscles and other parts of the body after an infection
  • alopecia areata – patches of hair loss or total hair loss on the scalp or body that can come and go.

Discoloured nails

A nail with a fungal infection can look ugly, as the nail often thickens and can turn white, black, yellow or green. The nail can sometimes become brittle, with pieces of nail breaking off or even coming away from the toe or finger completely.

The nail bed may also become inflamed and painful, but this tends to suggest a yeast infection rather than a fungal one.

Ram's-horn nails

Ram's horn nails (onychogryphosis) is a nail disorder that's more common in older people. It's possible for nails to become so overgrown, that they're very difficult to cut with conventional nail clippers.

Soaking the nails in water before cutting or regular chiropody can help, but sometimes the nails need to be removed by a podiatrist.

Spoon-shaped nails

Fingernails that curve inwards like spoons (koilonychia) can be perfectly normal in children but may be a sign of an underlying medical condition in adults. For example:

  • iron-deficiency anaemia
  • haemochromatosis
  • Raynaud's disease
  • lupus erythematosus

Grooves on the nails

Illness, injury or cold temperatures can stop nail growth and cause deep lines or grooves to form across the base of the nails (Beau's lines). These may only be noticed when the lines have grown up the nail.

It takes about six months for a fingernail to fully grow out and 6-12 months for a toenail.

Unusually curved fingertips

Clubbing of the fingertips can run in families and be entirely harmless. However, if it suddenly develops, it may be a sign of one of many underlying medical conditions, including:

  • long-term lung disease or heart disease
  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • cirrhosis of the liver

With clubbed fingertips, the fingernails curve over the top of the fingers. Normal nails should dip downwards towards the cuticle, creating a natural angle.

Dark stripes

If you have dark skin, it's fairly common to have streaks or lines of the pigment melanin down your fingernails. However, it's still important to get them checked by a podiatrist or doctor, as dark stripes may sometimes be a form of skin cancer called subungual melanoma (shown in the picture: Subungual melanoma usually only affects one nail, causing the stripe to change in appearance (for example, it may become wider or darker over time). The pigmentation may also affect the surrounding skin. The most common type of pigmentation of nails can be due to trauma such as hitting the nail or dropping something on it, this can cause damage to the nail bed.  

Little brown streaks

Little brown or red streaks under the fingernail are usually splinter haemorrhages. These are lines of blood caused by tiny damaged blood vessels. Just a few splinters under one nail is nothing to worry about and is most likely due to the nail being injured.

However, if a few nails are affected, these splinters may be a sign of another condition, such as:

  • lupus erythematosus
  • psoriasis
  • endocarditis – an infection of the heart valves

Splitting of the finger nails

Brittle nails that easily split could just be a sign of ageing or may be caused by long-term exposure to water, or chemicals such as detergents and nail polish.

It may help to wear gloves to protect your hands in water, regularly moisturising the nails, and reducing the use of nail varnish and nail varnish remover.

Sometimes, brittle nails may be caused by:

  • repeated trauma to nails
  • a fungal nail infection
  • a skin condition called lichen planus
  • nail psoriasis
  • an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid
  • less commonly, reactive arthritis – an unusual reaction of the immune system after an infection

At My Foot Doctor we recognise that every patient is unique and deserves a treatment tailored to their individual needs.

Chiropodists and podistrist can help diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of foot and lower limb problems, Our chiropodist and podiatrist is qualified to BSc Podiatric Degree standards with over 9 years experience, as well as dealing with minor foot treatments, such as corns, hard skin (callus), ingrown toenails, bunions, verruca, athletes foot, fungal nail infections, infected toenails, skin problems, we can also deliver fast and effective podiatric treatments such as surgery under local anaesthetic to deal with ingrown toenails or infected toenails (ingrown toenail surgery available.) Our podiatrist can also deal with a wide variety of foot problems, such morton's neuroma, plantar fasciitis, metatarsaligia, neuropathy, over pronation, gait analysis, insoles and orthotic prescriptions, children's foot problems, sports injuries, arthritis, diabetic footcare, elderly foot care and gait changes, plus a whole lot more. At my foot doctor our chiropodist and Podiatrist offers the latest treatments to deal aesthetic problems of nails Toenail Brace innovative injection therapy techniques such as steroid injection, Ostenil injections, PRP injections, , Five minute fungal nail test, Toenail Reconstruction, Low level laser therapy LLLT, Medical Pedicure. we also offer some of the most up to date treatments in the UK, such as Low level laser therapy, neuropathy diagnosis test, which has been proven to treat a wide spectrum of painful foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis , gout, arthritis, heel pain, achilles tendonitis, knee and ankle pain. 

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