Onychomycosis is a fungal infection causing deformity of the fingernail.

‘Onychomycosis’ is the medical term for nail fungus – which is usually the result of a living organism that thrives in dark, damp environments such as under and around nails. This nail disease is commonly misunderstood: it is usually NOT related to poor hygiene!

Fungal infections are very common on both fingernails and toenails. Toenails are more likely to be affected by onychomycosis since it is attracted to a dark and damp environment which is more common on the foot than on the hand. A common cause of ‘onychomycosis’ in the fingernails is… artificial nails!!

SOME STATISTICS ON ONYCHOMYCOSIS:


“Up to 50% of people over the age of 50 have a nail fungus infection to some degree. Approximately 10% of worldwide population suffers from onychomycosis.

The prevalence of childhood onychomycosis is estimated 0.2%. The typical age range for onychomycosis in children is 6-14 years of age.”

This disease is commonly misunderstood and left untreated for various reasons. nail fungus, in particular, is notoriously difficult to treat.

Onychomycosis is usually a chronic condition that progresses to involve more of the nail and other toes. Even if you lose the affected nail, the nail that grows back is usually also still affected by the fungus.

RESULTS OF TREATMENT ARE USUALLY POOR:

There are some internal medications available by prescription that help fight onychomycosis, but they can have severe side effects such as upset stomach, headaches and liver damages. Also mixing these drugs with other medications can be extremely dangerous.

Not to mention the cost. Some of the nail fungus prescription medications can cost well over $1000 by the time treatment is complete. Studies show that there is only 35-50% complete cure rate after 72 weeks of using these prescription medications as a nail fungus cure.

Topical medications are helpful in treating early small infections. They just aren’t capable of penetrating the nail to reach all of the fungi, so most prove unsatisfactory as a nail fungus cure.

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

Onychomycosis in fingernails is often due to artificial nails!
Onychomycosis in the hands of children!
Onycholysis – when fingernails turn white or yellow at the distal part of the nail plate

Advertisements


FINGERNAIL
DISORDERS:

Paronychia concerns usually a mild bacterial infection where the nail plate meets the skin - nail fold/cuticle.

There are types of 'paronychia': acute paronychia (sudden onset) & chronic paronychia (gradual development).

Paronychia

 

What is paronychia?

Paronychia concerns a bacterial infection of the skin (cuticle or lateral fingernail fold) surrounding the fingernail or toenail – often caused by an ingrown nail. Along with gradual thickening + browning discoloration of the nail plate, pus is usually present under the skin.

What causes paronychia?

Regarding the cause of paronychia, the two most common causes are:

Pyogenic paronychia = inflammation of the folds of skin surrounding the nail caused by bacteria (NOTICE: acute paronychia is usually a pyogenic paronychia);

Candidal paronychia = inflammation of the nail fold produced by Candida albicans (NOTICE: chronic paronychia is often a candidal paronychia);

Runaround paronychia = inflammation around the entire nail.

What is the right treatment for paronychia?

In mild cases, an acute paronychia may disappear within a few days. A painful paronychia can be treated with self care at home (including: warm soaks, draining of pus). Severe cases of acute paronychia – should be treated with antibiotics (consultation with your doctor/general practitioner is then recommended).

MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF THIS FINGERNAIL DISORDER:
How to treat a paronychia nail disorder?

PHOTO – An example of a severce case of paronychia:

An example of a severce case of paronychia.

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
The FINGERNAIL TUTOR: an online nail disorder identification tool!
4 Common nail diseases!
Koilonychia – causes + treatment of the ‘spoon nail’
Leukonychia – having ‘white spots’ on your fingernails (white nails)

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.