Nail Psoriasis May Include Loose and Deformed Nails, But is Treatable

World Psoriasis Day 29 October 2024

Inspiring Hope and Empowering Individuals with Psoriasis

While the appearance of nail psoriasis may be a matter of concern, it is a common affliction and entirely non-fatal. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects around seven million people in America, with around 25% of these contracting the nail variety.

While psoriasis of the nails leads to movement problems in the fingers and an increased risk of arthritis in the affected areas, it is possible to alleviate the discomfort of the swelling and to improve the look of the nail.

Common Symptoms

Nail and Hand Psoriasi

On a very basic level, psoriasis is a non-contagious disease that mixes up the signals sent to the brain about the creation of new skin cells. In non-sufferers, the body replaces skin cells in accordance to how many die or are lost to injury.

The bodies of people who have psoriasis will produce large quantities of new skin cells, which the body can’t get rid of quick enough. These new cells pile up underneath the skin causing lesions, swellings and sore skin. Common symptoms of nail psoriasis include:

  • Salmon patch – This is a clear spot of pigmentation that looks to be the size of a drop of blood in the middle of a nail. This is as a result of the build up of cells under the middle of the nail, causing swelling. It is an early symptom, so it is a sign you should seek medical advice.
  • Loose nails – Scientifically known as nail hyponychium, loose nails is one of the more uncomfortable symptoms of nail psoriasis. The build up of excess skin cells in the nail bed swells and inflames the whole area. Something has to give, and this is usually the nail itself, which can be incredibly painful.
  • Lines or spots – when the area around the fingernail becomes swollen it can put a lot of strain and pressure on the nail plate itself. This can cause fracture lines, also known as Beau lines, as well as spots where cells are lost from the nail itself. If the lines are black, this is likely to be bleeding in the capillaries in the nails after the buildup of too many cells.

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Nail and Hand Psoriasis

Nail Psoriasis

Care for Nail Psoriasis

One of the more frustrating things about psoriasis of the nails is that there is currently no known cure for the disease. Scientists are still unclear about what triggers the body to produce excess cells.

This causes difficulties pinpointing the exact location in the brain that sends out the faulty signals, so any care regime will of necessity focus on reducing discomfort and preventing against further damage:

  • Manicures – Psoriasis of the nails can look much worse than it actually feels, so many sufferers find that regular manicures can help improve the look and feel of the nails. The manicurist will also be able to help remove dead skin from around the nail area, as well as cover up any lines or pits in the nail itself.
  • Antibiotics – While antibiotics will not actually cure psoriasis, many sufferers find that they are more susceptible to fungal infections in their nails, so antibiotics help to clear these out, as well as building the body’s immunity against further infections.
  • Avulsion therapy – When all attempts for the reduction of the swelling have failed, avulsion therapy is implemented. As the final step for severe psoriasis patients, an ointment is used to loosen and release the nail, whereby the affected nail bed receives direct medical attention.

Nail psoriasis is not a deadly disease, but it is much harder to treat the longer it goes undetected. Anyone who notices any of the symptoms should consult their health care professional as soon as possible for the necessary tests and procedures.



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National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases