Overcoming Fingernail Problems
Fingernails (and toenails) are designed to protect the ends of your fingers and toes. But when spring comes, we also think of these appendages as possible fashion statements. Mani-pedis are scheduled and revealing sandals are purchased. And after the long winter, it’s nice to let the hands and feet breathe.
But if unsightly nails are present, you might feel more like covering them up than letting them show.
Nails are composed of layers of a hardened protein called keratin. Keratin is also present in your hair and your skin. Changes in the nails can be bothersome, but can also indicate more serious health issues.
Evaluate your nails. Are they strong and healthy looking? Or do you notice ridges, dents or areas of unusual color or shape? Vertical ridges are less-concerning than horizontal ones; these tend to increase with age. White lines or spots can occur if the nail has been injured, but these will typically grow out as the nail grows and heals.
Conditions that could require consultation with a doctor include:
- Changes in nail color; discoloration of the nail or a dark streak in the nail
- Brittleness, cracking or crumbling at the outside edges of the nail
- Changes in the shape of the nail; curling or thickening of the nails
- Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
- Bleeding or swelling/pain around the nails
Any of these conditions could indicate the presence of a bacterial or fungal nail infection. Typically over-the-counter remedies won’t get to the root of the problem, so self-diagnosis and treatment is not recommended. Consultation with a doctor who is specially trained to treat the hands and upper body is the best bet.
Dr. Rehman and her team of hand therapists are trained to evaluate and treat conditions affecting the nails. Sometimes oral anti-fungal or anti-bacterial medication may be required. If the nails are in-grown, Dr. Rehman will be able to provide relief and speed the healing of this painful condition as well.
Your nails aren’t just a fashion statement; they are indicators of your overall health and wellness. Contact Dr. Rehman today for a full evaluation and comprehensive treatment program that will return your nails to their healthy state.