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Common Nail Diseases and Disorders

Common Nail Diseases and Disorders

Nails are made up of keratin, the same protein found in our skin and hair. Healthy nails are indicative of good health and are evenly colored and smooth to feel and look at. On the other hand, badly discolored nails, varied nail growth rate are indicative of nail diseases and disorders. The clinical term for nail disease and deformity is Onychosis and is different from skin diseases and requires the attention of a physician or dermatologist and not that of a nail spa technician. A nail disease can be identified through subtle changes in the nail structure and health.

Unhealthy nail formations like ridges, clubbing, spooning, unusual thickness, thinness of nails, nail bed discoloration are all associated with certain kinds of deficiencies of the body and diet and are indicative of many diseases like heart, lungs, kidneys and liver. It is important that you identify and treat these problems at the onset to avoid health problems.

Some common nail diseases are:

Psoriatic nails – characterized by roughened nails, damaged nail bed, discolored reddish brown nails, this condition affects most of those who already have the skin condition psoriasis. The nail may at times also split from the nail bed. Swelling and redness of the nails is also common. This condition needs the attention of a dermatologist and a nail tech should not attempt to treat the client nails on their own.


Paronychia – an infection of the nail fold which happens when there is a tear in the proximal or lateral fold of the nail. This causes bacteria and fungus to enter the folds and causes redness, swelling and pain. This condition occurs mostly in people who are over exposed to water and is very contagious.


Pseudomonas – a bacterial infection between the nail plate and nail bed pseudomonas live in moist places and an indication that the infection has spread deep is the discoloration it causes on the nails. An extreme infection may also cause the nail plate to separate from the nail bed.


Tinea Unguis – also known as nail ringworm is a fungal infection and makes the nail thick and deformed causing eventual breakage of the nail plate.


Onycholysis – where the exposed portion of the nail is loosened beginning at the free edge and continuing to the lunula. This maybe caused due to allergic reactions to nail products, fungus, trauma or as a side effect of drugs.


Onychatrophobia – is a condition where the nail becomes small, loses its shine or may also shed altogether.


Onychogryposis – is a thickening of the nail which maybe hereditary or as a result of neglect to nail hygiene. This condition is also known as rams horns nails.


Onychauxis – is a condition with a very thick nail plate caused due to internal problems.


Onychorrhexis – a condition characterized by a vertical split or ridges on the nails. Usually inherited, this condition may also be acquired by the usage of strong detergents and cleaning agents. The nail can usually be repaired through treatments.


Koilonchia – is a result of iron deficiency and the nail appears very thin and curves up.

Onychoptosis – a periodic shedding of nails in part or whole this condition maybe caused by trauma, a side effect of drugs, stress, fever or as a result of such diseases like syphilis.


Onychophosis – is the growth of thick epithelium tissue on the nails.


Onychomadesis – is the falling off of a nail from its bed as a result of either chemotherapy, injury or even a long illness. The nail grows back as soon as the disease is cured.


Subungual hematoma – is the collection of blood under the nail due to injury or trauma. As this condition is very painful the blood is often released by making a hole in the nail.


Pterygium – is the formation of skin on the nail plate and is usually the result of some surgical procedure due to which a scar tissue forms on the nail. It can be removed by a physician.


Melanonychia – also known as nail moles are formed as dark spots on the nail matrix.


Petrygium inversum unguis – where the live tissue is attached to the underside of the nail. This condition may be hereditary or the result of nail enhancement treatments. Never try to remove this tissue on your own as it may cause blood flow.


Nail patella syndrome – is a genetic disorder which is characterized by skeletal and nail deformity. It usually occurs in 2 out of every 100,000 persons and is transmitted in the ABO blood type.

Other nail disorders like lunulae changes, changes in markings and color, discoloration of the nail bed, changes in growth rate should all be looked into carefully by a physician as they signify various body disorders. Identified early, these can be used to give you preventive medicine and treat any ailments you may have before they are out of control.