Nail Disorders

There are a variety of types of nail disorders, and fungal infection is the most common. In 80 percent of cases of fungal infection, the toenails are affected. With proper treatment, most damaged nails can re-grow into healthy nails.

Signs and Symptoms

Nail disorders are accompanied by the following signs and symptoms.

What Causes It?

Nail disorders are caused by infections, skin diseases, benign or malignant tumors, or certain system-wide diseases. They also may be self-induced.

Who's Most At Risk?

The following are risk factors for nail disorders.

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with a nail disorder, you should see your health care provider. A combination of a physical exam, lab tests such as fungal or bacterial cultures, and imaging procedures in the case of a suspected tumor are used for making a diagnosis.

Treatment Options


Treatment Plan

The infected nail may be removed, and medication you take by mouth as well as medication you apply to the nail is usually prescribed.

Drug Therapies

Your provider may prescribe the following antifungal or antibacterial medications.

Surgical and Other Procedures

Lesions may be removed or drained, blood clots may be drained, and sometimes the nail must be surgically removed.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

A comprehensive treatment plan for nail disorders may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies.

Consume adequate protein and minerals for general nail health. Increase the amount of nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables, sea vegetables, and cold-water fish that you eat. Avoid sugars, alcohol, caffeine, and refined foods.

Potentially beneficial supplements to counteract nutrient deficiencies include the following. Herbs
Herbal remedies may offer relief from symptoms. Herbs are generally available as dried extracts (pills, capsules, or tablets), teas, or tinctures (alcohol extraction, unless otherwise noted). Dose for teas is 1 heaping tsp. per cup of water steeped for 10 minutes (roots need 20 minutes). Homeopathy
There have been few studies examining the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies. A professional homeopath, however, may recommend one or more of the following treatments for nail disorders based on his or her knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type. In homeopathic terms, a person's constitution is his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual. Acupuncture
Acupuncture may be help to enhance immune function, normalize digestion, and address disease conditions.

Massage can help stimulate circulation, which aids the transport of nutrients to the nail bed.

Prognosis/Possible Complications

Toenail regeneration generally takes 8 to 12 months, while fingernail regeneration takes half as long. Relapses or permanent damage sometimes occur. Complications may include cellulitis (tissue inflammation) and the embarrassment caused by unsightly nail appearance.

Following Up

Follow-up with your health care provider may be needed in the case of drug side effects or interactions.


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