At atlas of diseases of the nail!

At atlas of diseases of the nail!

Fingernail disorders in the hands of elderly!

Fingernail disorders in the hands of the elderly are actually quite normal. One could say that Elderly people carry the last 6 months of their medical record on the approximately 10 square centimeters of keratin comprising the fingernails!

Abnormalities of the nail are often caused by skin disease and fungal infection. But fingernail disorders may also indicate more general medical conditions.

When examing the nails it is useful to follow a sequence including these steps:

• Check the nail shape;
• Examine the nail color;
• Survey processes around the nails;
• Compare hands;
• and note skin conditions.

A few of the most common fingernails disorders in the elderly related to the fingernail shape & nail surface are: clubbed fingernails, koilonychia, Beau lines, brittle nails, onychorrhexis, nail pitting, median nail dystrophy, nail beading, rough nail surface, nail thickening, onycholysis, and severe nail curvature.

A few of the most common fingernails disorders in the elderly related to the finger nail color are: absent lunula, pyramidal lunula, lunula with red discoloration, transverse white lines, leukonychia striae, longitudinal brown lines, splinter hemorrhages, Terry’s half and half nails, white nails, pink or red nails, brown/gray nails, yellow nails, and green or black nails.

More details about these nail disorders (and many others) will be revealed in later contributions.

Examples of nail disorders: nail psoriasis, nail pitting & onycholysis.

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Learn how to take care of your cuticles.

The function of the cuticle (or eponychium) in the nail anatomy is to function between the skin of the finger and the nail plate: the cuticle fuses these structures together and provides a waterproof barrier.

Many people experience problems with their cuticles for ragged cuticles can be annoying. Whatever you do, don’t snip or bite them off – instead you better use a nail pusher or a cuticle eliminator (see the picture below).

You can judge the ‘health’ of your cuticle by means of it’s: color & shape.

Actually, in terms of protection of your fingernail’s health the cuticle is likely the most important part of your nail!

A technical description of the ‘cuticle’ from An Atlas of DISEASES OF THE NAIL:


“The cuticle is the distal horny end-product of the proximal nail fold. The cuticle adhers to the nail plate and seals the nail from environmental pathogens and irritants.”

Do you have problems with your cuticles?

You can try the nail tutor:
The cuticle: find the cause of your nail disorder!

Example of how to use a cuticle eliminator.

The nail plate is the actual 'body of the nail'.

The nail plate – or ‘body of the nail’ – is a protective shield, shielding the delicate tissues of the underlying Nail Bed!

The overall growth speed of the nail plate is approximately 3mm in a month – though this speed varies from person to person. And growth speed also varies with lot’s of (im)personal circumstances such as: age, health, food intake, climate, seasons. So, it may take up to 6 months to grow a full nail plate, which implicates that the fingernail can mirror diseases of the nail back to 6 months!

Substances included in the nail plate are:
• Translucent keratin;
• Water (10-30%);
• Calcium (0.1%).

A technical description of the ‘nail plate’ from An Atlas of DISEASES OF THE NAIL:


“The nail plate is the smooth translucent structure that is the end-product of the keratinocyte differentiation in the nail matrix. It derives its normal color appearance from the underlying structures: pink from the vascular nail bed and white from the lunula and from air under the free edge of the nail.”

“The bulk of the nail plate comes from the nail matrix, and damage with scarring to the matrix can result in a permanent nail plate dystrophy, like a split or ridge. The surface of the nail plate is normally smooth and may develop longitudinal ridges as part of the aging process. Nail hardness is due to the disulfide bonds found in the keratin in the nail plate.”

The natural color of the nail plate is pink - a sign for having health fingernails.

Fingernail disorders in the hands of children!

Fingernail disorders in the hands of children!

Fingernail disorders in the hands of children!

Many people consider fingernail disorders merely as a ‘cosmetic problem’, nevertheless fingernails provide important signs related to your health. Let’s take a look at the fingernails of children!

The long version of this article describes the normal development of fingernails during childhood, including some ‘normal’ nail disorders (which are usually harmless) + an overview of the ‘serious’ nail problems in infants & children.

The following nail problems are relatively normal fingernail disorders in the hands of children (usually these are ‘harmless’): (1) Beau’s lines, (2) fragile nails, (3) pits of the nail plate, (4) koilonychia, (5) v-ridging (chevron nails), (6) punctate leukonychia, and (7) periungual pigmentation.

You can read more about the ‘harmless’ nail disorders in children, at:
Normal fingernail disorders in the hands of children

However, many other nail disorders are often related to various congenital, familial or acquired disorders. Examples of these ‘worrisome’ fingernail disorders in the hands of children are: (A) anonychia, (B) micronychia, (C) polyonychia, (D) epidermolysis bullosa, (E) pachyonychia congenita, (F) ectodermal dysplasias, (G) veillonella infection, (H) ingrowing toenail in infancy, (I) racket nails, and (J) the nail-patella syndrome.

You can read more about the ‘worrisome’ nail disorders in children, at:
Worrisome fingernail disorders in the hands of children

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