Nail disease is a broad term that covers several different conditions, including fungal or bacterial nail infections, tumors, nail lifting and splitting, in-grown nails, psoriatic arthritis and skin infections (paronychia).
A nail fungus will cause your nails to distort or thicken. Infected nails may also hurt or separate from your nail bed. Skin infections by your nails will cause redness and swelling.
Your nails can also reveal bigger health problems. Talk with your doctor if you notice curling or clubbing of your nails, discoloration of your nails or distinct sunken lines in your nails.
There are a variety of treatment plans available, depending on the cause of your nail trouble. Nail fungus may be treated with an oral antifungal medication, but creams typically don't work against fungus. If you have a simple infection, it may go away on its own. You should talk with your doctor if you develop an abscess.
If an underlying medical problem is causing your nail disease, you may also need to see a specialist. For example, psoriatic arthritis – a nail disease linked to the skin condition psoriasis – is treated by a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in treating arthritis) as well as a dermatologist.
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