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Same or next day appointments available with a board certified dermatologist

Foot with nail with nail disease or nail fungus

Nail Disorders

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in treating all conditions of the skin and nails. He has served as an investigator for multiple clinical trials involving new medications to treat nail fungal infections, as well as for medications for psoriasis, which is a common cause of nail disease. If you are suffering from abnormal or diseased nails, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

What causes the nails to look abnormal?

There are a variety of reasons why a nail may look abnormal. One of the most common causes is a fungal infection which is referred to as onychomycosis or tinea unguium. Nails may look abnormal due to repetitive trauma to the nail. This commonly occurs in runners or in people who wear shoes that do not fit properly. Even though the trauma may be mild, the constant repetition may cause enough irritation to the nail to develop an abnormal appearance. There are nail diseases such as psoriasis that cause changes that lead to appearances similar to fungal infections. Vitamin deficiencies such as low iron levels can also alter the appearance of nails. Other health issues such as thyroid, liver, or kidney disease, or medications may cause significant nail changes. 

How are abnormal nails diagnosed?

Since there are several reasons why a nail may look abnormal, it is important to see an expert in nails such as a dermatologist. A dermatologist will first inspect the nails and surrounding skin for diagnostic clues. Often a test such as a culture will be done to see if a fungus is growing in the nail. Your dermatologist will also take a history and find out more about your overall health and any medications taken as all of these things can affect the way the nails grow. Occasionally a biopsy of the nail will be performed to aid in diagnosis. 

What treatments are done for diseased nails?

Once a diagnosis is established, an appropriate treatment plan can be made. If there is a fungal infection present, usually a patient will need to take a pill for several months to get rid of the fungus. There are topical medications for nail fungus, but they are much less effective. If the nail is being constantly traumatized, your dermatologist will help you figure out ways to reduce the trauma to let the nail grow properly. If there are conditions directly affecting the nails such as psoriasis, treatment of the underlying disease usually leads to improvement. If there are internal health issues such as thyroid disease or vitamin deficiencies, treatment for those disorders should be done. 

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in treating all conditions of the skin and nails. He has served as an investigator for multiple clinical trials involving new medications to treat nail fungal infections, as well as for medications for psoriasis, which is a common cause of nail disease. If you are suffering from abnormal or diseased nails, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.