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What Is Toenail Psoriasis?

Toenail psoriasis is a chronic condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the nails, causing discoloration, pitting, and abnormal growth. It's not just cosmetic; it can signal deeper health issues. Intrigued by how these changes can affect your daily life and what treatments are available? Discover more about managing this condition and maintaining healthy nails in our comprehensive guide.
Angela Farrer
Angela Farrer

Toenail psoriasis is a topical problem resulting from excessive cell production often caused by hereditary factors, mental stress, a weakened immune system, and certain dietary deficiencies. Symptoms of toenail psoriasis often include red, flaky, and itchy skin surrounding each toenail. Other signs of this condition can be pitted toenails with lines or ridges running through them, thickened skin under the nails, and loose nails that eventually lift up from the toenail bed. Treating nail psoriasis on the toes often entails the use of topical medicines and preventative measures such as keeping the feet clean and dry.

Psoriasis on any area of the body happens when the rate if cell growth speeds up to the point where new cells can not replace old ones fast enough. Medical researchers usually tie this acceleration to an excessively active immune system that receives incorrect signals to produce too many skin cells too quickly. This faulty immune function is normally inherited, and people who have at least one parent with skin or nail psoriasis have higher chances of developing the problem themselves at some point in their lives. A majority of individuals with toenail psoriasis also have periodic outbreaks of skin psoriasis on at least one other area of the body such as their elbows, scalp, or knees.

Toenail psoriasis may cause itchiness on the toes.
Toenail psoriasis may cause itchiness on the toes.

Some environmental factors can be additional causes of nail psoriasis in people already predisposed to this condition. A lack of adequate B vitamin intake can sometimes trigger more severe toenail psoriasis cases. Some sufferers find that adding zinc supplements to their diets can help lessen their symptoms and improve the appearance of toenails with noticeable pits, discolored spots, and horizontal lines. Doctors often recommend that psoriasis sufferers also eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water each day, and exercise on a regular basis.

Topical medications may help treat toenail psoriasis.
Topical medications may help treat toenail psoriasis.

Just as with other types of psoriasis, toenail psoriasis does not have a definitive cure. People with this condition do have a variety of treatment options that are effective provided they follow their physicians' instructions. The most serious cases of toenail psoriasis may be treated with prescribed oral or topical medications depending on different patients' current health conditions. Psoriasis sufferers can also usually minimize outbreaks on the toes by wearing socks made from breathable material, keeping their toenails clean, and avoiding activities such as sports that could possibly lead to impact injuries on the nails.

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Discussion Comments

bear78

@fify-- Anti-inflammatory medications work the best for nail psoriasis. So steroids and immunosuppressant medications will help.

My toenail psoriasis improved greatly after I started taking a strong anti-inflammatory medication. Oddly, I was put on it for rheumatoid arthritis, but it also benefited my psoriasis. I think that oral anti-inflammatory medications are more effective for psoriasis on the nails because nails don't absorb creams as well as skin does.

ddljohn

@fify-- I have nail psoriasis too and unfortunately, I haven't found a treatment that works for it. Psoriasis on the nails are much harder to treat than skin psoriasis. I don't think that steroid cream will make a difference, but you can try.

It's probably a good idea to ask your doctor about it because once psoriasis on the nail gets serious, the nail can fall off or you may have to have it removed. Thankfully, mine have never been so serious but I know people who have experienced these issues.

The only things I do for my nail psoriasis are foot and hand soaks. Keeping them hydrated and moisturized seems to help, but it's far from a cure.

fify

I treat my skin psoriasis with a topical steroid cream. Can I use the same cream on my toenails for toenail psoriasis? Will it be effective?

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    • Toenail psoriasis may cause itchiness on the toes.
      By: nebari
      Toenail psoriasis may cause itchiness on the toes.
    • Topical medications may help treat toenail psoriasis.
      By: photoncatcher36
      Topical medications may help treat toenail psoriasis.
    • A dermatologist may use hydrotherapy to treat skin psoriasis.
      By: Photographee.eu
      A dermatologist may use hydrotherapy to treat skin psoriasis.
    • Impact injuries involving the toenails may lead to psoriasis outbreaks on the toes.
      By: NorGal
      Impact injuries involving the toenails may lead to psoriasis outbreaks on the toes.
    • Drinking large amounts of water is recommended to those with toenail psoriasis.
      By: mallivan
      Drinking large amounts of water is recommended to those with toenail psoriasis.