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Useful information for understanding and taking care of Psoriatic Nails

Author: Rahul Kumar
by Rahul Kumar
Posted: Feb 16, 2015
nail psoriasis

Nail Psoriasis is a skin condition which affects the nails and is characterized by deformed nails, unusual thickening of the nail and discolouration. It is a sub-type of the Psoriasis dermatological condition in which the affected areas of skin turn red and shiny with scaly and crusty skin. Generally it has been observed that Nail Psoriasis only occurs when the body is otherwise infected by either plaque psoriasis. Less than 10% of the reported cases of nail psoriasis are those where the disease affected the nails without affecting other parts of the body.

It has not been scientifically established why it occurs. The cause behind it could most likely be a fungal infection but nothing has been officially recorded. Since it can be a little difficult to diagnose, the Nail Psoriasis Severity Index (NPSI) is used to evaluate the Nail Psoriasis signs and symptoms of the disease on a 1-3 scale.

Symptoms and Signs

Most people suffering from acute psoriasis would experience some changes in their nails which can be a sign of developing nail psoriasis. Those diagnosed with Psoriasis Arthritis are at an especially high risk of psoriatic nails since 80-85% of the persons diagnosed with Psoriasis Arthritis develop nail psoriasis as the disease advances. Some symptoms of this nail condition are:

  • Discolouration of the nail which causes the nail to take on a yellowish or greyish tinge.
  • Unusual thickening of the nail.
  • Deformed nail.
  • Deep or shallow holes can be formed in the centre of the nail.
  • Loosening of the nail.
  • Parallel horizontal lines may develop.
  • Nail turns brittles and crumbles easily.
  • Onycholysis i.e. nail is separated from the nail bed.


Although treating psoriatic nails can be a little difficult since the disease affects the nail at the formative stage, regular treatments like topical creams and phototherapy can work for some patients. Apart from that, the following treatments are specifically developed for psoriatic nails:

  • Cosrticosteroid injections which are administered directly in the nail bed.
  • Tacalcitol ointment
  • Cosmetic treatments to hide deformation or discolouring through nail polish, artificial nails and surgery.
  • Prescribed anti-fungal agents for those who have an additional fungal infection inside the nail which is fairly common with nail psoriasis.

Taking care of psoriatic nails

If a person is suffering from nails psoriasis, he has to take care to make sure the nails are not further damaged. To ensure this, wearing cotton gloves at all times is recommended, especially while doing house work like cleaning, washing etc. Also, the names should be kept as short as possible till nail psoriasis is completely healed.

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Author: Rahul Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Member since: Jan 26, 2015
Published articles: 8

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