What is Nail Psoriasis?

Psoriatic arthritis is often accompanied by psoriatic nail disease.

Although psoriasis is primarily a skin condition, it can also affect toenails and fingernails. Nail psoriasis, or psoriatic nail disease, causes discolorations, deformations, and other abnormalities in the nail and nail bed. In most cases, cutaneous psoriasis, or cutaneous psoriasis, is present when nail psoriasis develops. Psoriatic arthritis is often accompanied by psoriatic nail disease as well.

Warm water and aloe vera can help soothe psoriatic nails.

The causes of nail psoriasis are not fully understood, but heredity plays a role. Environmental and immunological factors also contribute to an individual’s likelihood of developing the disease. Psoriatic nail disease is not contagious, so it cannot be transmitted by contact.

Nail psoriasis can be identified by a series of marks and discolorations commonly seen on the nail. Horizontal lines called “Beau’s lines” may be visible along the nail, or white patches called “leuconychia” may be visible. Discoloration of the nail is common and flecks of oil or salmon may also be present, which appear to be drops of oil or blood trapped under the nail. A splinter hemorrhage, where a small break in the skin causes a small amount of bleeding under the nail, may be visible as a thin black line running along the nail. Spotted lunula, a congestion of the capillaries under the nail, can appear as a reddened arch at the base of the nail.

A biopsy may be performed to diagnose nail psoriasis.

Changes in the shape and structure of the nail are also common. Nail psoriasis commonly causes pitting. The skin under the nail can thicken and cause it to loosen and separate. When psoriasis affects the nail bed, breakage of the nail can occur. Exposed nail beds are more vulnerable to infection, further complicating the condition.

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Approximately 5% of people with psoriatic nail disease have no visible signs of skin psoriasis. In these cases, a biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. There is no cure for nail psoriasis. Medical treatment focuses on minimizing symptoms, improving the appearance and function of nails, and treating any complicating problems such as infections.

Your doctor may prescribe topical creams and ointments to treat nail psoriasis. In some cases, the doctor may determine that the nail or part of it should be removed. This can be done with chemical treatment or through surgery.

When psoriasis affects the nail bed, breakage of the nail can occur.

Trimming the back nails will reduce the chance of infection, helping to prevent them from catching and pulling away from the nail bed. Care of affected nails must be done carefully. Overly aggressive cleaning or nail care can cause psoriasis to flare up and make the condition worse.

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