Nail infections & nail surgery
Pinky and soft nails are desired by all but sometimes the brittleness of nails highlights their unhealthiness or acts as an indicator of illness. Nails do get affected by infection of bacteria/fungi or viruses and can be found in hand nails or toenails.
One of the most frequently seen nail infections is fungal nail infections caused by dermatophytes which lead to discolouration, thickening, and brittleness of nails. And sometimes, the fungal infection separates the nail from the nail bed. This nail infection is called Onychomycosis.
The bacterial nail infection is called paronychia which is caused due to cut or injury to the skin bordering the nail. The infection causes pain, swelling, and redness around the nail border.
Viral nail infections are very rare skin conditions that are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). In this infection, nails get thickened or become deformed and may get separated from the nail bed.
Nail infections are treated with topical as well as oral medication. And in case of these treatments are ineffective then nail surgery is performed where the affected nail part is removed and topical antibiotic or anti-fungal preparation is applied to the nail bed for prevention of re-infection.
A dermatologist examines the nail and prescribes the appropriate treatment. Early treatment proves to be beneficial in preventing or spreading the infection and curtailing any further damage to the nail.
Frequently Asked Questions
A. Yes. Nail infections of the hands and toes can happen to anyone if hygienic personal habits are not maintained or care is not taken. The infection can be bacteria/fungal or viral and sometimes the infection can be present to one finger nail only.
- Pain around the nail
- Brittleness of the nail
- Separation of the nail from the nail bed
Disfigurement of nail
Nail infections are caused by multiple factors like –
- Injury to the nail
- Underlying health condition
- Pre-dispose conditions to infections
- Nail infection is treated with medication, surgery, and laser therapy. Medication involved the topical application of anti-fungal or biotic. Surgical removal of the affected nail or laser therapy was considered.
In some cases, a combination of treatments was considered for optimal results.
A. Nail surgery is considered when the topical medication is found ineffective in restricting the infection spread and causing structural damage to nails.
Nail surgery involves the following 2 steps –
- Removal of the affected nail bed
- Application of the anti-fungal or biotic medication to the nail bed
In some cases, the nail is removed permanently to prevent the spreading of infection or its recurrence.
Nail infections can be prevented by following simple steps –
- Cutting the affected nail
- Maintaining the nail trimmed and cleanliness
- Wearing footwear in public areas
Avoiding the sharing of nail care tools