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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Nails
These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as
recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is
always advised to consult their own physician.
Finger Nails Bent
Question: Question: Recently, I have noticed that my finger nails tend to bend
inward. It's more prominent on the middle finger nail. It has never happened before. I
have always been healthy and don't have any health problems so far. I am about 27 years
old. Could you please let me know why my nails would bend when they grow? I don't let them
grow very long either.
Answer: Couple of correctable reasons - hypo/hyper thyroid, iron
deficiency, psoriasis or some other systemic problem. Get them checked.
Question:My fingernail is almost separating from my nail bed. The sides are
slightly yellow and my finger feels swollen. Do you have any idea what it might be? and
what can I do to stop it?
Answer: Probably an infection in the nail bed, could be bacterial or
fungal. You'll need to see someone for further diagnosis.
Black line on Toe Nails
Question: I've noticed for the past several weeks both big toes have a black line
down the center of each. This has been since approximately, August. This is making me
Answer: Probably, no big deal, but needs to be checked to exclude
Concerns about Nail Ridges [posted
Question: I am currently taking Ibuprofen, 600 mg. for bursitis in right shoulder.
I had taken it previously for what was thought to be arthritis in left hip. I have noticed
that my finger nails have ridges from the base in lines to the tip. I remember hearing
previously that it represented a health condition. Can you tell me if I should be
concerned with this?
Answer: Probably not, ridges are pretty common and usually don't mean
anything if the rest of your health is ok.
Nail Bruise and Antibiotics
Question: My 15 year old daughter had a door slam on her index finger with a
resulting nail bruise. She had that drained, but her finger is still swollen after 5 days.
If she had an infection in that finger would Doxycycline be an appropriate antibiotic?
Answer: Yes, but it is probably not infected. It takes several days for the
bacteria to replicate/divide sufficiently to cause a problem.
Splitting Thumb Nail [posted
Question: I have a constantly splitting thumb nail. It splits down the center of
the nail, and clipping, etc., never seems to correct it. It only happens on my left thumb.
It splits down about 3/16 of an inch. Is this a deficiency of some vitamin? It keeps
catching and I may end up ripping half of it of.
Answer: If it was a vitamin (or food) deficiency, it would occur on all your
nails. This probably represents a previous history of trauma to the nail bed just below
the area that is splitting. Probably nothing can be done, possibly a fungal infection
which can be treated. Check with your doctor.
Question: My finger nails are soft and peal off in layers. Can I take something to
make my nails harder and not peal?
Answer: First, ensure that you apply hand lotion or cream after each washing,
even at work. Second, stop using any nail polish or nail cleaner. This will be necessary
for about 3 months for new nails to completely grow out.
Question: I just noticed this morning that my almost all of my finger nails have
humps that are growing out from the cuticle and go across the nail. This is not normal for
me. I know that everyone has some ridges that grow down the nail, but these humps go
across. I read that finger nails can show some illness signs. Should I be worried? These
humps are not ones that you have to look closely to see. They are easy to see and feel.
Answer: There are many diseases that are seen in the nails. The most common one
in young women is iron deficient anemia. Without seeing the nails I really cant say
what it is. If you are feeling well I wouldnt be too concerned. Try taking iron
supplements and if they dont change in 6-8 weeks have your physician look at them.
Question: If the moons show on fingernails, does this mean you are generally more
healthy than if they didn't show at all?
Answer: This means that your nails have good hardness and sheen, which is a sign
of healthy nails.
Question: I've worn acrylic nails for many years. Within the past few months, I am
experiencing a problem with my nails, they are turning yellow and the texture seems to be
flaky and soft. I actually went to a new person to do my nails, and she said that I have
fungus. Who do I go too (what type of physician) or is there anything that I can do over
Answer: There are prescription antifungals which will usually kill the nail
fungus. However, it will take a minimum of 3-4 months of treatment. Side effects include
liver toxicity and blood tests will need to be done. There is no over the counter that
will kill the fungus effectively.
Question: The whole of my big toe nail of my right foot is very loose and is coming
off, leaving the sensitive area inside exposed. Will infection set in (especially when
it's wet) and will a new toe nail grow completely to cover that part ? I got this while
playing football several weeks ago and there was a black clot-like bruise seen on the
Answer: There should be no infection and a new nail will occur about 95% of the
time. It may be somewhat different in shape.
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