Yellow nails

Your fingernails are not only a barometer of your general health state, sometimes they can also signal the presence of a medical problem! Why do nails turn yellow? And how to discriminate yellow nails from the ‘yellow nail syndrome’?

Yellow fingernails are often the result of behavior habits: such as smoking, nail polish, cooking with curry, nail fungus, or the use of certain types of medication (e.g. tetracycline).

YELLOW NAILS DUE TO A MEDICAL PROBLEM? 

But sometimes nails may take a yellowish teint which is not the result of behavior. Fingernails that are yellow can be an indication of a medical disorder in some cases. These include liver disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and nutritional deficiencies, most notably iron and zinc. Although most cases of yellow nails are not caused by an internal disorder, underlying medical problems should be ruled out if your nails have suddenly changed in color. Simple blood tests can generally rule out most causes of a yellow fingernail.

YELLOW NAIL SYNDROME?

The ‘yellow nail syndrome‘ is a rare nail disorder characterized by yellow to yellow-green, thickening, slowgrowing nail changes – with absent lunula and cuticle: see the picture below. The underlying pathological process if thought to be related to impaired lymphatic drainage.

THE NAIL TUTOR DESCRIBES THE MOST COMMON CAUSES
FOR YELLOWISH DISCOLORATION OF VARIOUS PARTS
OF THE NAIL UNIT:

YELLOW FREE EDGEYELLOW HYPONYCHIUM
YELLOW LATERAL FOLDYELLOW LUNULA

 Example of the yellow nail syndrome:
 


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)

Megan Fox has a clubbed thumb, not to be confused with a clubbing fingernail.

Megan Fox has clubbed thumb & Hrithik Roshan has a double thumb – not to be confussed with a ‘clubbing fingernail’!

Earlier this summer Megan Fox’s right thumb became news after new photos of her indicated that the beauty has a rather misshapen thumb – which by the way had been observed as early as 2007 already. While scientists have described that thumb length has played a major role in the evolution of human kind, what do we really know about this rather remarkable type of thumb abnormality?

Having your thumb in the form of a club, which is called brachydactyly – type D (BDD), which is a minor affliction that can be found in 1 out of every 1,000 people. Local hand surgeons know everything about it there is to know.

Megan Fox thumb 2: clubbing right thumb.Megan Fox thumb example 3: clubbed right thumbMegan Fox thumb example 4: club right thumb.Megan Fox thumb example 5: brachydactyly - type D thumb.

Dr. Steven Bendner, a leading hand surgery expert at Beth Israel Medical Center, explains that the case of the thumb that looks a bit flattened and therefore shorter, is often a peculiarity that comes down in the family:

“The nail of the thumb in this condition is often very short and wide. It is usually hereditary, although it could also have been caused by frostbite, or it could have been an injury to the growth plate in childhood. While one is young, the thumb often looks more or less ordinary, but with the passing of time its shortened condition begins to stand out more and more.”

So, contrary to ‘fingernail clubbing‘ (a nail disorder which is associated with various medical problems – often related to lungs), a ‘clubbed thumb’ is usually nothing to worry about at all!

Dr. Richard Kim, director of congenital hand surgery at Hackensack Medical Center, warns us not to play down the importance of the thumb.:

“You need it to be able to touch the other fingers and it is important for pinching. In Megan Fox’s case, it appears that only the last bone of the thumb is affected and that it does not involve the joint. For her, it looks like it’s just a cosmetic deficit.”

Hopefully, knowing about Megan Fox’s little imperfection will help other people to realize that – when not overplayed by the owner – a small cosmetic defect might only add to the charms of a person. Now, maybe you would like to hear more about the ‘double thumb’ (in his case a combination of ‘polydactyly‘ & ‘syndactyly‘) of the famous Indian Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan???

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
Fingernail clubbing might signal various medical problems!
An ‘Ode to the thumb’ – by French sculptor César Baldaccini!
Join the brachydactyly type D Facebook club!
Brachydactyly: a club for people with club thumbs

The famous Indian Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has a double thumb - a combination of 'polydactyly' & 'syndactyly'.