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(continued) Treatment is not always effective right away but does include keeping the nails trimmed back and thinned. Using a disinfectant can help.  Some doctors will suggest a 1% acetic acid treatment(vinegar), antibiotic therapy or antifungal creams.

Tinea Unguis:

Another name for this condition his ringworm of the nail.  This is due to a fungal infection similar to the type that causes athlete's foot.  This is very similar to onychomycosis which is a classic toenail fungus.  Ringworm of the nail can occur from an infection to the nail itself or the foot long-term.  The nail becomes whitish and thick and in the advanced stages very dystrophic and thickened. Ringworm of the nail can come back even after treatment.  Prevention includes washing the feet daily and drying them completely even between the toes.  Use of cotton socks or the newest kind of socks that wick the water away to try and keep the foot from getting moist.  Use of an antifungal power can help.  Footgear should always be breathable and not made out of any artificial material such as plastic which causes the foot to heat up.


This is a classic condition that we see in our offices.  It makes up approximately 50% of all nail disorders.  It is more commonly found in toenails than fingernails and cause a buildup of white debris underneath the nail.  It often causes the end of the nail to separate from the nail bed and can occasionally make the nails fall off.  Toenail fungus is most commonly a result of one of 2 different organisms, Trichophyton Rubrum or Trichophyton Mentagrophytes.   These are the most common fungi that cause athlete's foot, ringworm and jock itch.  Treatments include topical antifungal's applied every evening and thinning of the toenails on a weekly basis, oral medications, removal of nails or heat therapy with a laser.  Prevention is the same as Tinea Unguis.


This is an infection of the nail and or nailfold.  This can be caused by bacteria, fungi, yeast and some viruses.  The main symptom is a very painful, red and swollen area around the nail.  Usually this is a response to a foreign body which in this case would be a piece of nail underneath the nail edge.  Bacterial infections happen rapidly and  one usually sees white pustular discharge.  Fungal infections tend to occur more slowly and the discharge is more of a clearer material.  Over the years the bacterial infection has been the most prominent but now we are seeing allow more fungal infections from local nail salons.  Treatment includes trying to clear up the infection with either local or topical antibiotics.  If there is aforeign body-type reaction iand the nail edge was not removed the infection will come back.  At home at first you can try soaking in lukewarm water 2-3 times a day to reduce the pain and swelling.  If the infection persists you must see professional care from your local podiatrist.

Beaus Lines:

Beau's lines are horizontal ridges in the nail.  These may be caused by trauma, illness, malnutrition, chemotherapy or any other major metaboliccondition. It is primarily the result of an interruption in the protein formation of the nail matrix which is the growth center of the nail.  These can develop as a result of diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, myocarditis or zinc deficiency.  Certain illnesses such as measles, scarlet fever, mumps and high fevers can cause this condition also.  Treatment is to try and find out the initiating factor and treat it.Treatment will include hydration of the nails with a cuticle oil containing vitamin E.  Hydration of our bodies can also help, so drinking plenty of water is important to not only our nails but hair and skin.  Filing the nail smooth can also help.


Melanonychia are vertical pigmented bands most normally seen in dark skinned individuals.  These are often called nail 'moles 'which usually formed in the nail growth center which is called the matrix. These can also be caused by trauma.  Although melanonychia is often a harmless anesthetic problem and it also may be a symptom of melanoma. The amount of fingers involved, the width of the discoloration, whether the ridge is solid or mottled and whether this involves the cuticle or nailfold area important in the diagnosis. If you suddenly see a change in the nail plate with longitudinal coloration seek  professional advice from your local podiatrist.


Vertical Ridges:

Everyone eventually can develop a few ridges on our nails because as we age the growth area of the nail called the matrix no longer produces a smooth nail.  As we age the natural oil and moisture levels declined in the nail plate which also can cause the ridges.  Treatment  of the nail itself is the same as that of Beau's lines which includes hydration of the nails with a cuticle oil containing vitamin E.. Hydration of our bodies can also help, so drinking plenty of water is important to not only our nails but hair and skin.  Filing the nail smooth can also help.