The most common nail problems of discoloration and thickening are usually due to a fungus infection. There are two main types of fungi that can infect nails.
The first is a dermatophyte; which primarily affects the nail plate causing it to become discolored, thicker, and develop a “flaky” appearance underneath the nail. The infection can spread from one nail to the next, but generally is not contagious from person to person.
The other common type of nail fungus is a yeast (candida) species. This fungus often targets the cuticle area causing it to become red, puffy, and tender. The nail below the swollen cuticle can also become distorted and turn yellow.
Most topical antifungal medications cannot penetrate the nail to treat these infections. To treat this problem successfully, Dr. Davis can prescribe oral antifungal agents, which need to be taken by mouth for 1-3 months.
Dr. Davis offers:
- In-office fungal culture testing and reading
- Topical antifungal creams
- Oral Medications- Itraconazole (Sporanox), terbinafine (Lamisil), fluconazole (Diflucan)
Another common cause of nail-distortion/discoloration is Psoriasis; which can mimic a fungal infection. The skin of patients with psoriasis usually has “islands” of red, flaking skin. Arthritis can also be associated with psoriatic nail disease.