According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, this disease affects approximately 7.5 million Americans. This chronic autoimmune condition causes faulty messages to be sent to the brain resulting in an excessive amount of new skin cells being produced too rapidly, causing a variety of rashes on the skin that are usually red, inflamed and itchy. What you may not know is that psoriasis can also cause problems for your nails. At Foot & Ankle Specialists PC, we have seen patients affected by psoriasis and want you to know what to look for.
Up to 50% of patients with psoriasis will also notice changes in their nails. These may include:
- Discoloration of the nail, usually turning it a yellowish brown
- Pitting of the nail with either shallow or deep holes
- Separation of the nail from the nail bed (onycholysis)
- A deformed appearance in the shape of the nail
- Thickening of the nail
Treating nail complication associated with psoriasis can be difficult. Our board certified podiatrists, Dr. Scott E. Hughes, Dr. Greg P. Vogt, Dr. Christine I. Tumele, and Dr. Matthew W.E. Lewin will first need to be certain that psoriasis is the cause of your symptoms. Not only do the symptoms appear similar to those of a fungal nail infection, about a third of the people with nail psoriasis also have a fungal nail infection. Anti-fungal medications may be prescribed if a fungal infection is present. Topical medications, phototherapy and corticosteroid injections are all possible avenues of treatment for psoriasis related symptoms.
If you have nail complications from psoriasis, it’s best to keep nails as short as possible. Wear gloves when working with your hands or cleaning. This is to prevent nails from loosening or catching on surfaces and becoming damaged. Trauma to the nail can trigger a psoriasis flare up or worsen an existing condition.