Nail Infections: Know The 11 Signs And Causes!

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Are you tired of your recurrent nail problems? Do you have nail discoloration that ruined the beauty of your hands or feet? Are you curious about the reason behind nail disorders? Then this article is a must-read for you that has complete detail about nail-related diseases like nail infections!

Nails are unique but important body structures formed of keratin, just like hair and your superficial skin layers. Nail diseases differ in etiology and morphology. Here are some of the most common nail problems and their causes;

1. Nail Discoloration

The normal nail color is pale pink. The end of the nail that grows off the finger is white in color. Nails can become discolored because of:

  • Smoking
  • Dyes like Hair dyes
  • Certain medications including some chemotherapy drugs
  • Nail Infections, like infection of the nail bed
  • Injury/trauma to the nail bed
  • Subungual melanomas
  • Silver toxicity, quinacrine toxicity, and Wilson’s disease; the nails become bluish
  • Several systemic diseases including liver disease; the nails become white
  • Renal failure; the nails become half-and-half

2. Changes In Nails Due To Trauma

The nail may become injured, leading to:

  • Lifting of the nail by a subungual hematoma
  • Loss of the nail plate due to severe injury
  • Ridging of the nail
  • Nail deformities if the nail matrix is injured

3. Onycholysis-Elevation Of The Nail Plate

The nail can be lifted off the underlying nail plate because of any infection or trauma and appears yellowish or white. This includes:

  • Picking too far under the fingernails
  • Pus formation under the nail plate
  • Psoriasis
  • Certain systemic diseases such as bronchiectasis, thyroid disorders, anemia, or some autoimmune diseases
  • Fungal nail infections

4. Bacterial Paronychia

Bacterial paronychia is caused by bacterial infection of the nail fold. It is more common in those, whose nails have more contact with moisture, who bite their nails, have an injury during manicure of their nails, or are prone to eczematous conditions or minor injuries of the fingers.

5. Chronic Paronychia

In this condition, the nail fold is thickened, tender, and slightly reddish. It is due to multiple factors such as chemical irritation, allergy, and moist conditions; all of them make the nails susceptible to chronic fungal infection as well. The nail becomes distorted and discoloration may appear.

Read More About Nail Care Over Here!

6. Ingrown Nails

This condition means nails grow into the skin at the sides of the nail. This causes pain and may increase the chances of infection. It is more common if the nail curves inwards too sharply, or if the nails are not trimmed correctly (straight across, or, in the case of fingernails, with a gentle curve). Trauma or wearing tight shoes for a long period of time may also cause this condition.

7. Nail Thickening

Thickening of the toenails is a normal age-related morphological change, but abnormal thickening can also be seen in some people. Following are the causes behind this condition;

  • Injury
  • Fungal infection
  • Arthritis
  • Abnormal gait
  • Ischemic circulation
  • Tight shoes
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes

8. Nail Ridges

Longitudinal ridges running down the nail may appear in several systemic conditions, such as:

  • Eczema
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Lichen planus
  • Severe anemia or malnutrition
  • Aging
  • Trauma
  • Illness

9. Nail Splitting

The nail may flake into layers as it grows, due to:

  • Constant application and removal of nail polish
  • When your hands are over-exposed to water
  • Overuse of the artificial fingernails

10. Nail Changes In Systemic Diseases

Allergic or autoimmune conditions may present with nail changes such as;

  • Pitting in psoriasis
  • Splinter hemorrhages in bacterial endocarditis
  • Altered shapes, including the koilonychia (spoon-shaped concave nails) of iron-deficiency anemia
  • Beau’s lines are transverse depressions that occur following a severe illness, malnutrition, chemotherapy or nail injury, etc.
  • Clubbing may occur in lung disease.

11. Rare Conditions Affecting The Nails:

  • Congenital nail anomalies: Nails may be malformed or totally absent
  • Tumors of the nail bed: Subungual melanomas and other skin cancers may occur under the nail.
  • As a sign of toxicity: Sometimes symptoms of poisonings may appear as nail changes. Like, arsenic produces white lines, while silver toxicity may produce a bluish tinge.

You can consult the top dermatologists in Islamabad for the treatment of your nail infections and other nail related problems

Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with top psychologists in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.

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  1. Why do my nails show discoloration?
    The discoloration of the nails shows the signs of infections, or injury, toxicity, systemic disease, and many other health problems.
  2.  Can too much water exposure harm my nails?
    Yes, too much water exposure can increase the risk of infections and cause nail splitting.
  3. Which medical specialist should I consult for my nail disorders?
    You can consult dermatologists for nail-related problems.


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Aiman Usman (Doctor of Pharmacy)
She is a pharmacy graduate and worked as a hospital pharmacist. Her interests are teaching, blogging, and scientific writings. She likes to write about medicines, health issues, health and beauty-related natural remedies, the nutritional value of different foods, and mental health.
Aiman Usman (Doctor of Pharmacy)

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