Ridges in Nails or Discoloration: Causes, diagnosis, Treatment

Hands | Dermatology | Ridges in Nails or Discoloration (Symptom)

Ridges in Nails or Discoloration: Description

The nails of the hands and feet protect the tissues of the fingers. They consist of layers of a hardened protein called keratin, which is also found in hair and skin. The health of the nails may be an indicator of the overall health of a person. Healthy nails are usually smooth and uniform colour.

Nail problems that sometimes require treatment include bacterial and fungal infections, ingrown nails, tumours and warts. Nails that are kept clean, dry and trimmed can help avoid some problems. Cutting the cuticle may cause infections.

Ridges in Nails or Discoloration: Causes

In half of cases, discolored nails are a result of infections with common fungi that can be found in the air, dust, and soil. There are many species of fungi that can affect nails. The most common is called Trichophyton rubrum. This type of fungus has a tendency to infect the skin and is therefore known as a dermatophyte. Pseudomonas is a type of bacteria that infects the nail bed and result in a greenish color to the nails. Red or black nails may result from a hematoma (a collection of blood) under the nail as a result of trauma (including ingrown toenails).

Specific types of nail discoloration and changes in growth rate can signal various lung, heart, kidney and liver, as well as diabetes and anaemia. White spots and vertical ridges are harmless.

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