The nails of a healthy person appear to be smooth with a consistent color. It is possible to develop vertical ridges on your nails or to have brittle nails with the growing age. There are several reasons why diseases, such as spots, discoloration, and nail separation, can appear on the nails, including injuries to the fingers and hands, warts (periungual warts), and infections (onychomycosis). People are very much conscious about protecting the tips of fingers from harmful bacteria. As our fingernails assist us in picking up objects, scratching an itch, or untying knots. People of all ages suffer from nail problems. Generally, abnormal nail changes are not caused by diet, except in cases of severe malnutrition, when the individual eats a lot or less than they need. The treatment of some nail conditions requires the help of a doctor or a dermatologist, while other conditions can be treated with simple self-help techniques and slight lifestyle changes. Toenail complications can also affect individuals of all ages, but they tend to be more usual among the elderly. Injuries, infections, and skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis are a few causes of fingernail problems. The most common reasons for toenail complications are trauma, ill-fitting shoes, poor blood circulation, poor nerve supply, and infection. Toenail problems can be treated successfully with the help of a podiatrist.
Anatomy of NailA protein called keratin is the building block of nails, and this is the identical protein known to make up the skin and hair. An individual’s nails build from cells that multiply within the base of the nail, then layer onto one another and harden at the top. The process is known as keratinization. We inherit our parents’ characteristics of nails, such as strength, thickness, and growth rate. The nail is composed of the following components:
- Nail matrix: The nail matrix is the place behind the nail’s skin responsible for nail growth.
- Nail plate: It is the component of the nail that is evident.
- Nail Bed: The nail bed is the structure upon which the nail plate rests.
- Lunula: Lunula is the crescent-moon form you might see at the base of a nail plate.
- Nail folds: A nail fold is a delicate skin groove that holds the nail in place.
- Cuticles: A cuticle is a thin flap of tissue covering the base of the nail plate.
Types of Nail problemsUsually, nail problems are not due to anything serious; as we age, our nails tend to grow thicker or brittle (which can break easily). During pregnancy, you may notice a change in shape or size of your nails (as well as softening or brittleness of your nails within the first six months of having a baby). A damaged nail may change its color, become loose and ultimately fall off due to an injury. The fingernails that fall down due to an injury should grow within six months, and toenails can take up to 18 months to grow back. Some of the common problems are mentioned below:
- Damaged nails
- Brittle nails
- White bands
- Beau’s lines
White bands (Muehrcke’s Lines)
- Vertical Ridges: A vertical ridge is a furrow that runs from the tip of a fingernail down to the nail’s cuticle. Steep ridges are also known as longitudinal striations or bands.
- Horizontal Ridges: The presence of deep horizontal ridges, called Beau’s lines, often indicates a serious health problem. As a result, the nail may stop growing until the underlying condition is treated.
Onychomycosis (Fungal infection)
- https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/nails-fingernail-and-toenail-problems retrieved on March 25, 2022.
- https://www.healthline.com/health/nail-abnormalities-2#_noHeaderPrefixedContent retrieved on March 25, 2022.
- https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/nail_health retrieved on March 25, 2022.
- https://www.aafp.org/afp/2012/0415/p779.html retrieved on March 25, 2022.