What are abnormal nails?
Abnormal nails refer to changes in your nails' appearance, texture, or structure that can deviate from their normal, healthy state. These changes can include discolouration, thickening, thinning, brittleness, ridges, pitting, splitting, or detachment of your nails from the nailbed. Abnormal nails can also exhibit irregular shape(s), unusual growth patterns, or develop lesions or abnormalities in the surrounding skin.
What causes abnormal nails?
Abnormal nails can be caused by various factors, such as:
- Infections: fungal, bacterial, or viral infections can cause abnormal nails.
- Skin conditions: conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, or lichen planus can result in abnormal nails.
- Systemic diseases: such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, liver diseases, or kidney diseases may lead to abnormal nails.
- Nutritional deficiencies: inadequate intake of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, or proteins can cause brittle nails.
- Trauma: injuries to the nails or repetitive trauma from activities like nail biting or wearing tight footwear can result in abnormal nails.
- Medication side effects: some medications can affect nail health and lead to changes in their appearance.
What are the symptoms of abnormal nails?
Symptoms of abnormal nails include:
- Changes in nail colour (such as yellowing, whitening, or darkening)
- Thickened or thinning nails
- Brittle, splitting, or crumbling nails
- Changes in nail shape (such as curling or clubbing)
- Swelling or redness around the nail bed
- Pain or tenderness in your nails
- Presence of spots or lines under the nails
- Difficulty in nail growth or slow nail growth
- Nail detachment from the nail bed
If you have any of the symptoms stated above, make an appointment with us for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
Are abnormal nails painful?
Abnormal nails can sometimes be associated with pain or discomfort, but it depends on the underlying cause. For example, if you have an infection, injury, or ingrown nail, you may experience pain or tenderness in the affected nail. Certain conditions like psoriasis or fungal infections can also cause discomfort or itching around the nails. However, not all cases of abnormal nails are painful. Some changes in nail appearance, such as discolouration or ridges, may not cause any pain or discomfort.
Who is at risk of abnormal nails in Singapore?
In Singapore, anyone can experience abnormal nails, but certain factors may increase the risk.
Here are some factors that can contribute to the development of abnormal nails:
- Age: as you age, your nails may become more brittle and prone to changes in texture and shape.
- Medical conditions: certain health conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, diabetes, thyroid disorders, and circulatory problems can affect the health appearance of your nails.
- Nail trauma: injuries to the nails, such as repeated trauma or accidents, can lead to nail abnormalities.
- Poor nail hygiene: neglecting proper nail care, including trimming, cleaning, and moisturising, can increase the risk of nail problems.
- Occupation: certain occupations that involve repetitive use of the hands or exposure to chemicals may increase the risk of nail abnormalities.
What are the treatment options for abnormal nails?
The treatment options for abnormal nails depend on the underlying cause and specific symptoms.
Some possible treatment options include:
- Medications: depending on the cause of the abnormal nails, you may be prescribed medications such as antifungal creams or oral medications to treat fungal infections or topical corticosteroids to manage inflammatory conditions.
- Nail care and hygiene: proper nail care practices, including regular trimming, moisturising, and keeping your nails clean can help improve the appearance of your nails.
- Lifestyle modifications: making certain lifestyle changes, such as wearing protective gloves while performing tasks that may damage the nails, avoiding harsh chemicals, and maintaining a balanced diet, can promote nail health.
- Surgical interventions: in some cases, surgical procedures may be recommended to treat severe or chronic nail conditions, such as nail avulsion (removal or entire nail) (link to nail removal service page) or nail plate excision.