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Nail Shape and Other Signs of Nail Abnormalities

Did you know that abnormalities in your nail shape relays information about your health? If you are concerned that your nails may differ from the norm, the dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can help you discover the truth behind your nail abnormality.


Nail Abnormality Causes

Smooth, consistently colored nails are the image of healthy nails. However, the most typical nail abnormalities are ridges running vertically along the nail and frail patches. These are the result of aging or minor injuries, and are nothing to worry about. In addition, it is common to have discoloration and other spots, which may be a result of medications or infections. You should seek medical assistance or a dermatologist’s help if your nails drastically change in color, shape, or thickness. Also, if you are experiencing bleeding, swelling, pain, around the nails, or separation of the nail from the skin. These are signs that an underlying condition is affecting your health.


Types of Nail Abnormalities

Examples of nail abnormalities include nail pitting, nail clubbing and Terry’s Nails just to name a few.


Nail pitting is when there are small indentations in the nails. This nail abnormality may be a result of Reiter’s syndrome, psoriasis, or alopecia areata. Reiter’s syndrome is a type of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in the joints. The syndrome is triggered by an infection in the intestines, urinary tract, or genitals. Psoriasis is when skin cells grow excessively fast, causing the skin to build up in patches or scales. Lastly, alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes loss of hair. Nail pitting is an important sign to watch out for and can help lead to further diagnosis.


Nail clubbing is when the nail curves around the tip of the finger over a span of time. Clubbing can be a sign of lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, AIDS, liver disease, or cardiovascular disease. It is most common in people with lung cancer. In addition, people with nail clubbing may experience coughing or shortness of breath.

Terry’s Nails

Terry’s Nails describes an abnormality where almost the entirety of the nail is white, except for a pink band at the very top of the nail. This abnormality may just be a sign of aging but is also attributed to many other dangerous underlying conditions. These conditions include liver disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or congestive heart failure. With this, as these alternative medical conditions can be life threatening, it is important to determine the severity if you are experiencing symptoms of Terry’s Nails.


Nail Abnormality Treatments

To keep your nails healthy, try avoiding biting or tearing nails. Use nail clippers after you shower while the nails are soft and able to be easily cut, and consult a doctor if your nail condition becomes a concern. To treat nail pitting, corticosteroid injections may be put into the nail bed. Injections prove to be effective after a few injections. Phototherapy may be used as well. It is a treatment that exposes the nails to fluorescent light, which helps the appearance and health of nails. In addition, for the discussed nail abnormalities, if an underlying condition is diagnosed, once medication for that condition is administered, abnormalities in the nails will decrease. This is especially true for Terry’s Nails.

It is important to understand what conditions may be behind your nail abnormalities. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can help diagnose and treat nail abnormalities. If you are in or around Bloomington, Illinois contact a dermatologist will help you take the proper steps in caring for your nail abnormality.

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