Nails & Nail disorders

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Nail care

Tips for healthy nails

 

  • It is best to keep your nails clean and dry.  Washing the dishes and clothes by hand causes the skin around the nails to become a good environment for bacterial and fungal infection!  Wear Gloves.

 

  • Use a soft nail brush daily to remove excess debris and dead cells from around the nails.   

 

  • Nails should have a smooth edge as a ragged edge can contribute to nail breakage.  Keep a nail file handy to smooth away any rough edges.  Work in one direction with the grain of your nail for a smoother finish.

 

  • For strong nails use a nail hardener.  

 

  • Do not bite nails! There are millions of bacteria in your mouth!

 

  • Acetone based nail polish removers dry out nails excessively so stick to Acetone-free nail polish remover.

 

  • Gently pushing back the cuticle once a week with a wooden orange stick after getting out of the shower. Massaging them with a cuticle cream.

 

  • Disinfecting your nail tools between uses.

 

  • Cutting nails too short can cause injury to the nail bed below.  It can also cause ingrown nails.

 

  • Nail care is most important in Diabetic patients as infection starts and spreads very easily in these patients.  Inspect hands and feet daily for small injuries as these can lead to disasterous infection and even gangrene in Diabetics.  

 

  • Wear comfy shoes with socks if you are Diabetic and never walk around without shoes on!

 

  • Smoking can cause yellowing of the teeth, nails and skin of the fingers!

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Infection of the skin around the nail is called Paronychia.  It is caused by bacteria and must be treated with an antibiotic.  

 

Dont soak hands in water if you have this infection.  Wear gloves when washing dishes and clothing.  Dont let finger get soaked in the bath/shower.  

 

This problem can recur if you dont make some changes to your routine.  

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Manicured Nails

Manicured Nails

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Manicured Nails

Manicured Nails

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Healthy Nails

April 11, 2016

The finger and toe nails function to protect the fingertip and tip of the toes as well as surrounding soft tissues from injury.  It enhances precise delicate movements of the distal digits through counter-pressure exerted on the pulp of the finger.  Nails also help us to scratch itchy skin!

 

The nail consists of a nail plate, nail matrix and nail bed.  It is made from a strong protein called Keratin.   

A healthy nail is pinkish in colour because of the blood flow in the skin below it.  It should have a smooth surface and edge.  The nail is white towards the tip of the nail.   This is because the nail is no longer in contact with the Nail bed so there is no blood flowing below this part of the nail.  

 

 

Nail Disorders

April 11, 2016

Disease in the body can present with a number of alterations including changes in your movements, speech, skin and even nails.  

 

Your doctor has been trained to have an observant eye.  While you are busy chatting, he/she has already begun to examine you!

 

Nail disease can represent an underlying medical condition.  

 

Iron deficiency anaemia

is the most common Anaemia in the world.  

 

Nail changes due to low Iron levels are brittle nails that are dry and break easily.  Nails may become spoon shaped in severe cases.  

 

Your doctor will also look for other signs of Iron Deficiency Anaemia if he/she suspects that you have this condition.  Your blood may need to be tested and you may need Iron supplementation.  

Calcium deficiency 

may cause white stripes or spots on the nails.  You need to eat foods rich in calcium such as cheese, milk, and other dairy products. 

Fungal Infection of the nail

is common in Diabetic patients.  Your blood sugar will usually be tested if you present with such a nail infection to your doctor.  This is treated with anti-fungal medications.  

A number of nail changes may be present in Psoriasis.  One such change is "Pitting", where tiny indents are present on the nail.  

A black stripe on the nail usually indicates that you have a mole under your nail.  This causes pigment to be distributed in a line from the base of the nail to the tip.  If the line is becoming darker or wider, this can be due to a Cancer of the nail.  

Raynauds is a phenomenon whereby the nails +/- fingers can change colour in cold weather.  The fingers and nails turn from pink to white to blue.  It may be subtle and occurs in a number of medical problems or alone.

Nail Trauma

Bleeding under the nail causes the nail to turn black after trauma.  This is called a "Subungual Haematoma".  The blood will usually be reabsorbed by the body over a few days.  

Sometimes an XRAY is necessary after trauma to the ends of hands and feet as broken fingers and toes are a possibility.

Healthy Nails

Nail disorders

Nail care

© 2020 Dr M Raboobee

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