Top 5 Common Fingernail Problems

Author: Staff Writer

There are five common fingernail problems that are easy to spot. They range from minor irritations to serious diseases. To keep fingernails healthy, be aware of these problems, and how to prevent and treat them. These five common fingernail problems are fingernail ridges, brittle/splitting fingernails, fingernail fungus, psoriasis of the nails and separation of the fingernail from the nail bed.

Fingernail Ridges

Fingernail ridges are vertical lines that occur in the fingernails. The exact cause of the ridges is currently unknown, and the ridges themselves are not harmful. They are cosmetic in nature and are likely hereditary. Since the cause of the ridging is unknown, there is no treatment for it.

Brittle/Splitting Fingernails

The medical term for brittle/splitting fingernails is onyshoschizia. Onyschoschizia occurs when the fingernails repeatedly get wet and dried. The best way to avoid this problem is to be aware of good nail care practices. Keeping the fingernails from repeated exposure to harsh chemicals and wearing gloves when cleaning help protect against this condition.

Fingernail Fungus

The medical term for fingernail fungus is onychomycosis. Onychomycosis occurs when fungus attacks the fingernail. It may cause spotting, discoloration or disfiguring of the fingernail. Fingernail fungus requires prescription medication and needs treatment by a doctor. Preventive measures include keeping the feet clean and dry, wearing shoes in public places, and using an antifungal powder or spray in the shoes.

Psoriasis of the Fingernails

Psoriasis of the fingernails is the result of a skin condition of the same name. This condition, when mild, leaves small indentations called pits in the fingernails. When severe, the condition can cause loss of the fingernail. Psoriasis of the fingernails requires treatment by a dermatologist. The best preventive measure is avoiding injury the fingernails, which can worsen the condition.

Separation of the Fingernail from the Nail Bed

Onycholysis is the medical term for the condition resulting in separation of the fingernail from the nail bed. It often affects more than one fingernail at a time and usually occurs in those with long fingernails. This condition can lead to fungal or bacterial infection under the nail. It requires treatment by a dermatologist.


Works Cited

Osteopathic College of Dermatology
Brittle Splitting Nails

Mayo Clinic
Nail fungus:

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology

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"Top 5 Common Fingernail Problems." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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