Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes redness and irritation form the thick, red scaly skin that flakes off in silvery-white patches. This is a long-term and chronic condition that occurs because the cells grow too quickly and flake off about every four weeks, with new skin cells growing to replace the outer layers as they shed. It is an embarrassing enough condition to have to deal with on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet or lower back (most common areas), however psoriasis can extend further than just the skin.
Half of those suffering from psoriasis may see changes occur beyond their skin, such as in their nails. In addition, at least 80 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis will experience nail changes. The most common nails problems that are caused by psoriasis include: pitting, which is shallow to deep holes in the nails; deformation, which are alterations in the normal shape of the nail; abnormal thickening of the nail; experiencing onycholysis, which is the separation of the nail from nail bed; and discoloration, which is unusual nail coloration such as yellowing and browning.
Psoriasis is not a curable condition; however its flare-ups can be controlled to some extent, however this also means that treating nail psoriasis is equally as difficult because it affects the nail formation. Treatments include corticosteroid injections into each affected nail, and/or cosmetic repair, which includes nail scraping, filing, nail polish, artificial nails and even in certain extreme cases, surgical removal. Onychomycosis may also be present for patients with nail psoriasis, which is a fungal infection that thickens the nails. One-third of people who suffer from nail psoriasis also develop a fungal infection. In this case, a patient can be treated with systemic anti-fungal agents.