About Nail Disorders
What are they?
Most nail disorders are characterized as fungal infections, also called onychomycosis or tinea unguium, and both toenails and fingernails are vulnerable. About 1 in 10 Americans are affected, and you’re at a higher risk of developing these infections the older you are. Symptoms can vary, but typically include nail pain or soreness, thickened nails, a distorted appearance, nail darkening, yellowish streaks, separation of nails from the nail bed, brittleness, or even foul smells.
What causes them?
Several different fungi can lead to a nail disorder, as the pathogens enter the skin through very tiny openings between the nail and nail bed. If the surrounding area is warm, moist, and unventilated, the fungi propagate quickly. Other contributing factors for nail disorders include family history, walking barefoot in public areas, or profuse sweating. Even poor health can contribute to the development of these conditions, as diabetes and poor circulation are known triggers.
If you suspect you have a nail disorder or infection, be sure to see a professional dermatologist, as he or she can perform a nail scrape for quick results. A dermatologist can also help differentiate between nail disorders and other conditions with similar symptoms (like yellow nail syndrome). There are multiple treatments for nail disorders, including over-the-counter (OTC) oral anti-fungal medications and topical OTC anti-fungal medications are also available. An effective solution offered by our dermatologists is laser nail treatment, which treats the infection or disorder completely and almost painlessly. In other, more extreme cases, complete removal of the nail may be necessary.
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