Solve the Nail Thickening Mystery: Which term refers to the thickening of the nails?
Thickening of the nails may not seem like a big deal, but for many people, it presents a real problem. Nail thickening is often accompanied by a host of other issues including discoloration and a change in texture. Knowing what causes thickening of the nails and how to treat it can have a significant impact on overall nail health.
In this article, we explore everything there is to know about nail thickening, from what it is, to what causes it, and ultimately how it can be treated to restore your nails to optimal health. So, if you’re one of those many people who have been struggling with nail thickening or simply want to learn more about nail health, read on and let’s solve the nail thickening mystery together.
What is Nail Thickening?
In layman’s terms, nail thickening refers to an abnormal growth of the nail plate, leading to crumbly, thick and curved nails. This term is used to define the condition that occurs when the nails become denser, thicker, and sturdier than normal.
The structural changes resulting from nail thickening can give your nails an entirely different appearance. They can also cause discomfort or pain when performing activities that require the use of your hands or feet. Addressing this condition early on can help prevent pain and other related problems and ensure that your nails look and feel healthy.
What Causes Nail Thickening?
Thickening of the nails can happen for numerous reasons. At times, it can be a symptom of some underlying health condition or disease. On other occasions, it can be attributed to environmental factors or lifestyle choices. Below are some of the most common causes of nail thickening:
- Fungal infections
- Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
- Poor circulation
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Age-related changes
Environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals, swimming, and synthetic nails can also contribute to nail thickening. If you suspect that any of these factors may be the cause of your nail thickening, consider seeing a dermatologist to get a complete diagnosis.
Symptoms of Nail Thickening
Thickened nails often present with the following symptoms:
- A notably thicker and denser nail
- A yellowish or brownish coloration
- Brittleness, flakiness or deformity
- Difficulty trimming your nails
- A change in shape such as curling or ridging
- Discoloration of the skin around the affected area
These symptoms can occur on any of your nails, including toe nails and finger nails, although toe nails are more commonly affected.
Diagnosing Nail Thickening
Your dermatologist or doctor will evaluate your nails’ appearance and perform a physical examination to determine if you have nail thickening. They will also take a complete medical history to help rule out existing health conditions that may be responsible for the nail thickening. In some cases, they may take a scraping or biopsy of the affected nail to help identify the underlying cause of the problem. This can help determine the best treatment course to take for the condition.
Treatment for Nail Thickening
Treatment of nail thickening typically includes addressing the underlying problem. If the thickening is caused by a fungal infection, for instance, antifungal medications may be prescribed to help get rid of the infection. Other treatment options include:
- Topical corticosteroids
- Nail removal, especially in severe cases
- Oral medication in the case of an underlying medical condition
- Laser treatment
- Changes in lifestyle habits such as addressing a nutrient deficiency, diet changes, and regular exercise.
Prevention of Nail Thickening
The most effective means of preventing nail thickening is by taking measures to maintain optimal nail health. This includes taking care of your nails by trimming them regularly and adequately. Avoiding environmental factors such as swimming or exposure to chemicals that may harm your nails can also help maintain nail health. Other ways to prevent nail thickening is by eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding harsh chemicals and other environmental factors that can contribute to nail thickening’s development.
Nail thickening may not be a life-threatening condition, but it can be quite uncomfortable and make you self-conscious about the appearance of your nails. Some of the underlying causes of the condition can be severe, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as you notice any changes in your nail’s thickness or coloration.
The best course of action is to take preventive measures to help maintain optimal nail health. Lastly, see a dermatologist or doctor to determine the underlying cause of your nail thickening and determine the appropriate treatment course based on your specific condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Q: What is nail thickening?
- A: Nail thickening refers to abnormal growth of the nail plate, leading to thick, crumbly and curved nails that can be painful and uncomfortable to manage.
- Q: What are the causes of nail thickening?
- A: Nail thickening can be caused by a fungal infection, psoriasis, trauma, diabetes, malnutrition, repetitive motion injuries, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and age-related changes among others.
- Q: What symptoms are associated with nail thickening?
- A: Thickened nails often present with thicker and denser nails, yellow or brown coloration, brittleness and flakiness or deformity, difficulty in trimming nails, change in the nail shape and discoloration of the skin around the affected area.
- Q: How is nail thickening treated?
- A: Treatment for nail thickening usually involves identifying and resolving the underlying problem using medication or surgery in severe cases.
- Q: How can I prevent nail thickening?
- A: Maintaining optimal nail health, including regular hygiene, avoiding exposure to harsh chemicals, and a nutritious diet can help prevent nail thickening.