Nail disorders can affect individuals of all ages, resulting in noticeable changes to the nails. In some cases, they may serve as potential indictors of underlying health issues as well. These conditions can present on their own or concurrently with skin conditions such as rashes. While Dermatologists are known to treat skin conditions, they also play a pivotal role in diagnosing and addressing these nail issues.
Common nail conditions
Common nails conditions may fall into the following categories.
- Nail injuries: Accidents or sports-related injuries leading to nail trauma.
- Nail infections: Nail issues which arise from by bacteria or fungi infection.
- Chemical damage: Damage to the nails due to exposure to chemicals present in various products.
- Skin disease impacting nails: Skin conditions such as atopic eczema and psoriasis affecting the nails.
- Internal medical issues: Nail changes associated with kidney, thyroid disease, low blood count or vitamin deficiencies.
- Nail bed growth or cancer: Nail bed benign growths or cancer (including nail melanoma), impacting the nails.
Nail problems often begin subtly with changes in colour or texture, progressing to deformities, pain, and swelling as the disorder advances.
An example of nail discolouration
How are nail disorders diagnosed or treated?
It is crucial to see a dermatologist if you notice progressively worsening or persistent conditions affecting your nails.
A check up with a dermatologist typically involves a thorough examination of your nails and a review of your medical history. For a conclusive diagnosis, your dermatologist may extract your nail clippings and scraping, or a tissue sample from the nail bed or nail matrix in a nail biopsy, for analysis under the microscope in a laboratory. In instances where internal medical conditions are suspected, blood tests may also be recommended.
Timely diagnosis is crucial for successful treatment outcomes. Treatment approaches vary based on the identified cause. Topical agents or oral medications may be prescribed for mild cases, and in some instances, day surgical procedures can be performed.
Ensure your nails receive the care they deserve by seeking treatment promptly. If you have concerns about your nail health, schedule an appointment with our dermatologist, Dr Kok Wai Leong, by booking an appointment online, calling us at 6322 6333 or sending us a WhatsApp at 9655 2101.