If you have psoriasis, be on the lookout for a troubling development. Those scaly, bumpy, red patches on your skin can spread to your fingernails and toenails. At Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, we’re taking the month of August, Psoriasis Awareness Month, to help our patients understand this toenail complication is more common than you might think. More than 35% of people who live with psoriasis will eventually find it affects their nails.
The symptoms of nail psoriasis include:
- nails that turn yellow
- “pitting” – small indentations
- horizontal or vertical lines throughout the nail
- changes in the normal shape of your nail
- brittle, thickened, or crumbling nails
- detachment – when the actual nail (nail plate) separates from your toe (nail bed)
Some of the symptoms of nail psoriasis, such as discoloration and crumbling, also apply to fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. Others, such as pitting and lines, may point to a dietary insufficiency such as low zinc.
To make matters even more confusing, you could have nail psoriasis without ever having been diagnosed with psoriasis! Toenail problems may be a person’s very first symptom of the disease. If you’re not accustomed to dealing with psoriasis, you probably wouldn’t recognize it in your toenails.
Finally, psoriatic nails put you at an increased risk for developing a potentially debilitating joint disease called psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
For all of these reasons, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis of nail psoriasis. If you’re troubled by toenails that are discolored, misshapen, or begin to fall off, we are, too. Call us in Centreville (Fairfax County), Virginia at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online for a complete examination. Our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment to minimize or eliminate your toenail discomfort.