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AAD Investigates Common Nail Disorders

Posted: July 31, 2008

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“We know that the foot acts as a reservoir for fungus that can spread elsewhere on body, so it is important for dermatologists to treat the source of an infection and check the toenails and bottom of the foot when a fungus is present,” said Daniel. “Patients who have had trauma to a nail also are more susceptible to nail fungus, as the trauma can serve as a predisposing event.”

Daniel added that psoriasis patients are prone to developing nail fungus. In fact, one study found that the occurrence of nail fungus was 56% greater in patients with psoriasis than in nonpsoriatic patients, and men with psoriasis also were two-and-a-half times more likely to have nail fungus than women with psoriasis. Dermatologists find that while medications traditionally used to treat nail fungus work for psoriatic patients affected by this infection, these medications will not improve the underlying psoriasis.

Nail fungus can be difficult to treat, but most cases improve with the use of available prescription topical medications. Experimental treatments for nail fungus include photodynamic therapy (PDT) and new topical treatments, and studies are currently being done with nanoparticles.

Side effects of nail cosmetics

Nail cosmetics, used to enhance the appearance of nails, also can be a source of potential problems. Though not common, allergic reactions and infections from nail cosmetics used at home or at nail salons pose serious health risks.