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COMMON DISEASES OF THE NAIL

Nail disorders can occur in a number of disease, nail disorders may occur alone or associated with rashes.

Common disease of the nail includes;
1. Nail infections by bacteria, fungs, yeast and virus.
2. Paronychia-an infection of the nail fold
3. Nail disorder due to skin disease e.g. Psoriasis
4. Nail injury

1. Infection of the nail
The commonest nail infection is fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infection can affect the finger and toe nails.
The infection reaches the nail plate from the free margin and sides of the nail. The nail plate may become brittle, thickened or completely destroyed.

Fungal nail infection can be confirmed by laboratory microscopic examinations of clippings of the nail.

Oral antifungal tablets, or antifungal lotion may be prescribed by your doctor for treatment. Treatment may last from 2to12 months depending on the type of infection and the oral antifungal tablets prescribed.However,the nail may take as long as a few months to return to near normal appearance even after the treatment has been stopped.

Another common nail disorder is caused by viral wart infection of the nail fold and nail bed. The condition is called periungual viral warts. This condition is best treated by laser surgery.

2. Paronychia
Paronychia is an inflammation of the nail folds. Nail fold damage usually results from injury to the proximal nail fold. Cause of injury includes habit biting and constant wet work. People whose hands are exposed to water most of the time,e.g.housewives,canteen operators, cooks are more prone to develop paronychia.

Secondary infection by bacteria or fungus will cause painful swelling of the nail fold. If the infection had been there for a long time, the nail plate becomes deformed.

Treatment of paronychia includes draining pus in the infected nail fold and oral antibiotics. Topical antifungal and antiseptic lotions may be used to treat paronychia. Patients with paronychia must avoid prolonged wet-work and injury to the hands. Wearing of impervious gloves during wet work helps to prevent paronychia.

Treatment of Nail
Before
Before Treatment of Nail
After
After Treatment of Nail
 
3. Skin disease affecting nails

Psoriasis

Nail changes in psoriasis are very varied. They may appear as pits on the nail plate. The nail plate may be separated from the nail bed (onycholysis) .The nail may lose its normal lustre and appear discoloured.Gross thickening of the nail is another feature of psoriasis.

Typical psoriasis rash would often be present on the fingers, toes and elsewhere on the body.

4. Nail injury

The nail can be damaged by nail-biting, habit-tic e.g. scratching the nail folds, bad manicuring or industrial accident. Damaged nails may appear ridged or cracked or broken.