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Nail Diseases Chart: Picture, Sign and Treatment

by Dr.Bahman Sotoodian
The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

The nail diseases chart provided in this post will help you identify common nail disorders. The status of your nail can have a direct correlation with your overall well-being, and seeking appropriate care is vital. A change in color, texture, or shape of your nail may indicate a disease, making it essential to consult healthcare professionals. In Canada, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist for expert evaluation and treatment.

Overview of Nail Diseases chart

Healthy nails are smooth and have consistent coloring. Vertical ridges or brittle nails may develop as you age. This is completely harmless. Spots caused by injury should fade as the nail grows. Discolored spots and nail separation can be caused by injuries to the fingers and hands, as well as infectious processes including warts (periungual warts), fungal infections (onychomycosis), and injury due to medications, such as those used for chemotherapy.

Certain medical conditions can also cause your fingernails to change color. These changes, however, can be difficult to interpret. The appearance of your fingernails is usually a clue to your underlying medical condition, but the doctor will make a diagnosis based on your nail findings, as well as after obtaining a thorough medical history.

Below is a chart representing common types of nail diseases with pictures:

Nail diseases chart
Nail diseases chart: Types of nail diseases with photos

Common Nail Diseases

In canada, Fungal and bacterial nail infections are fairly common, as are nail disorders such as irregular splitting or abnormal color or texture. Poor hygiene, an unsuitable diet, genetics, tight shoes, and inefficient nail filing techniques can all contribute to nail problems.

Psoriasis on toenails
Common Nail Diseases: Psoriasis on toenails

When it comes to the most common nail conditions, the sooner you start treatment, the better—especially since nail abnormalities can help doctors detect underlying conditions.

A nail disease chart is provided below for each common nail disorder to help you better maintain your nail health.

Nail Psoriasis

Nail psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes discoloration, pitting, and changes in the structure of your nails. It can make you feel self-conscious, but you can improve their appearance by buffing them and applying nail polish. Nail psoriasis is not contagious, and treatments can help your symptoms improve.

Psoriasis on fingernails
Common Nail Diseases: Psoriasis on fingernails

Underlying Causes

  • Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that affects nails. Your immune system overreacts, causing new skin cells to grow at an abnormally rapid rate.


  • Small dents in your nails (called “nail pits”)
  • Discoloration that is white, yellow, or brown
  • Nails that are crumbling
  • Nails coming away from your finger or toe
  • Buildup under your nail
  • You have blood under your nail.


Consult a dermatologist for the following options:

  • Powerful corticosteroid cream
  • Tazarotene, for the treatment of pitting and discoloration
  • Calcipotriol is prescribed for treating nail buildup.
  • Etanercept, adalimumab, or ustekinumab injections
  • Oral medications such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, or apremilasta
  • A laser procedure

At-home Care

  • Use aloe vera gel for its anti-inflammatory properties
  • To avoid an infection, wash your hands and fingernails frequently.
  • Moisturize the skin around your nails and the nails themselves.
  • Maintain short nails.
  • Apply a hardening nail polish to the nails.
  • Remove hangnails.
  • Wear gloves when doing activities that could damage or dry out your nails or the skin around your nails, such as washing dishes, playing sports, or working outside.

Can I catch nail psoriasis from another person?

Nail psoriasis does not spread. Skin-to-skin contact cannot transmit nail psoriasis to another person.

Onycholysis (Nail lifting up)

The separation of the nail from the nail bed is known as onycholysis. Onycholysis is a symptom of skin disease or skin infection, but it can also be caused by over-nail-filing, chemical exposure, allergic contact dermatitis, and other injuries. Onycholysis can lead to infections and permanent nail loss if not treated and cared for properly during the healing process.

Nail lifting up
Common Nail Diseases: Onycholysis (Nail lifting up)

Underlying Causes

  • Injuries (trauma): Injuries to a nail or the area where your nails begin to grow (nail matrix)
  • Chemicals: Onycholysis can be caused by chemicals found in nail polish, nail gloss, nail hardener, nail polish remover, and fake nails.
  • Fungal infections: Your nails may develop thick, yellow patches and streaks due to them.
  • Medications: Onycholysis can be caused by chemotherapy and medications that cause light sensitivity. Tetracycline, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), psoralens, and oral retinoids are among these medications (vitamin A derivatives).
  • Nail psoriasis: Nail psoriasis causes structural changes in your nails, which may include onycholysis.


  • Nails that separate from their nail beds.
  • Thick, sturdy nail beds.
  • A strange line separating your nail’s white edge from its pink center. The border may appear wave-like, and the white portions may vary in thickness.
  • Your nails and nail beds are discolored.
  • They could appear gray, green, purple, white, or yellow.
  • Your nails have dents or pits (cupuliform depressions).
  • Nails that are crumbling.
  • There are blood clots (Hemorrhages) under your nails.


  • There is no cure for Onycholysis, but treatment can keep new nail growth attached to the nail bed.
  • If you have onycholysis caused by a fungus, you may have the following options:
    • Oral antifungal medication:Your dermatologist may prescribe oral medications such as terbinafine (Lamisil®), itraconazole (Sporanox®), and fluconazole (Diflucan®).
    • Topical antifungal medication: Creams, ointments, and gels are topical medications applied directly to your nails.
  • Keep in mind that nail fungi can be difficult to treat. It is very important to complete your entire course of medicine. If you stop too soon, the fungus that caused your onycholysis may reappear and be more difficult to treat.

At-home Care

  • Take medications and use treatments as directed by your dermatologist.
  • Trim your affected nails on a regular basis.
  • Be sure to prevent further harm to your nails.
  • To avoid infection, wash your hands frequently. To get beneath your nails, use a clean washcloth.
  • To help prevent infection, use antifungal or antimicrobial soaks. Lemon juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree, orange, or lemongrass essential oils can all be used in antimicrobial soaks.

Is Onycholysis painful?

Onycholysis nail disorder is usually not painful; however, the cause of your onycholysis may be painful or irritating. Onycholysis caused by injuries or fungal infections can cause pain and irritation.

Can I catch Onycholysis?

Onycholysis caused by an injury, nail psoriasis, or a reaction to a medication or chemical is not contagious. Onycholysis caused by a fungus, on the other hand, could be contagious. Skin-to-skin contact between infected individuals can spread the fungus. Nail fungus can also be contracted by touching an infected surface (indirect contact).

Nail Fungal Infections

Next on the nail diseases chart is nail fungus, which is a common nail infection. It starts as a white or yellow-brown spot under the tip of your fingernail or toe. As the fungal infection progresses, the nail may discolor, thicken, and crumble at the edge. Nail fungus can affect fingernails, but it is more common in toenails. In addition to being an infectious condition, nail fungus causes great discomfort.

Nail Fungal Infections
Common Nail Diseases: Nail Fungal Infections

Underlying Causes

  • Nails can be affected by a variety of molds and fungi. They form when fungi become trapped between the nail and the nail bed due to a crack or break in your nail or skin.
  • Wearing shoes that cause your feet to sweat excessively
  • Having previously suffered from athlete’s foot syndrome
  • Walking barefoot in wet public places like swimming pools, gyms, and shower rooms
  • Having minor skin or nail damage
  • Having a skin condition like psoriasis that affects the nails
  • Having diabetes, issues with blood flow, or a compromised immune system
  • Older age
  • Unsanitary manicures and pedicures


  • Thickened nails
  • Discolored brown, yellow, or white nails
  • Nails that are brittle or cracked
  • Misshapen nails
  • Separated nails from the nail bed
  • Smelly nails


  • Medications: Antifungal medications may be prescribed by your healthcare provider for oral use or topically on the nail.
  • Surgery: In order to apply the antifungal medication directly to the infection under the nail, your dermatologist may advise the temporary removal of the nail. The most efficient but least used method is to have the nail and its root surgically removed.
  • Self-care and over-the-counter medicines can sometimes help get rid of the infection. If your condition doesn’t get better, consult your dermatologist. Recurrence of the infection is common, even if your nail condition gets better.

At-home Care

  • Try over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and ointments. Terbinafine (Lamisil) is one of several products available.
  • The nails should be trimmed and thinned. This relieves pain by reducing the pressure on the nails. Additionally, if you do this before applying an antifungal, the drug will be able to reach into deeper layers of the nail.

When should I see a doctor for a nail fungal infection?

If self-care measures haven’t helped and the nail becomes increasingly discolored, thickened, or misshapen, you should see a doctor. In the event that you experience any of the following signs, see a dermatologist:

  • You have diabetes and believe you have nail fungus.
  • The skin around the nails is bleeding
  • Swelling or discomfort near the nails
  • Having trouble walking

Onychogryphosis (Ram’s Horn Nails)

Onychogryphosis is a nail condition in which one side of the nail grows faster than the other. This disease is known as “ram’s horn nails” because the nails are thick and curvy, similar to horns or claws. Onychogryphosis primarily affects the toes, particularly the big toe.

Common Nail Diseases: Onychogryphosis (Ram’s Horn Nails)

Underlying Causes

  • Psoriasis
  • Foot injury: Repeatedly injuring your feet—or minor foot trauma—can cause toe and nail plate damage.
  • Fungal infection: onychomycosis is a fungal infection that causes thick, crinkly, and brittle nails. This infection primarily affects toes, but it can also affect fingernails.
  • Peripheral vascular disease: The arteries in your legs become clogged with plaque as a result of peripheral artery disease (PAD). This reduces blood flow to your legs and feet, which can lead to dry, itchy skin and nail issues. If left untreated, PAD can lead to Onychogryphosis Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC): This is a rare genetic disease that results in the growth of benign tumors throughout the body. TSC is typically diagnosed based on the skin problems it causes, such as nail deformities.


  • The nail plate becomes opaque and yellow-brown, with associated gross hyperkeratosis.
  • Extreme Nail Elongation
  • A more curved surface
  • Nail that looks to be “oyster-like”


  • Onychogryphosis can only be treated surgically. The type and frequency of surgery, on the other hand, are determined by the cause of the ram’s horn nails. If the condition is inherited, you may need to repeat the surgery as the nails grow back. Your doctor may recommend removing the affected nail plate to permanently resolve this issue.
  • Your doctor will perform surgery to address the issue if the underlying cause is a less serious one, like a foot injury or infection. After that, they will instruct you on how to properly trim your nails and take care of your feet to prevent future issues.

At-home Care

  • To avoid ingrown nails, nails should be clipped straight across rather than curved.
  • Wear clean cotton socks to help absorb moisture and prevent fungal infections.
  • Regularly change your socks.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable and have sufficient toe box space.
  • When working with chemicals, use gloves.

Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh. As a result, there is pain, inflamed skin, swelling, and, in some cases, infection. Ingrown toenails are most commonly found on the big toe.

Ingrown toenail
Common Nail Diseases: Ingrown toenails

Underlying Causes

  • Not trimming nails
  • Wearing socks or shoes that are too tight
  • Injury to the foot
  • Wearing footwear that encroaches on the toes
  • Toenail trimming that is too short or not straight across
  • Having extremely curved toes
  • Infections of the nails
  • Specific medical conditions
  • Cutting nails too short or rounding the corners are two nail care practices that promote the nail to grow into the skin.


  • Tenderness and pain
  • Skin inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Redness
  • Pus


  • Lifting the nail up: If you have a slightly ingrown nail, your doctor may carefully lift the ingrowing nail edge and place a spacer under it.
  • Taping the nail away: with this method, your doctor uses tape to pull the skin away from the ingrown nail.
  • Inserting a gutter splint under the nail. Your doctor numbs the toe and inserts a tiny slit tube beneath the embedded nail. This splint is worn until the nail grows above the skin’s edge.
  • Taking out the nail partially. In the case of a more severe ingrown toenail (inflamed skin, pain, and pus), your doctor may numb the toe and trim or remove the ingrown portion of the nail.
  • Removing the tissue and nail: If you have the problem on the same toe repeatedly, your doctor may recommend removing a portion of the nail as well as the underlying tissue (nail bed).

At-home Care

  • People should cut their nails straight across, not rounded at the corners, and not too short.
  • See a podiatrist on a regular basis: If a person has circulatory problems in their feet or is unable to cut their own nails, they can visit a podiatrist for professional trimming.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry. An ingrown toenail is less likely if your feet are clean and dry.
  • Select proper-fitting footwear. Shoes should be the proper length and width.
  • Soak your feet in warm, soapy water for a few minutes. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes three to four times a day until the toe gets better.

Can an ingrown toenail heal on its own?

Minor ingrown toenails can heal naturally as the nail grows. Ingrown nails that are severe or infected, on the other hand, require professional medical attention. It’s critical to understand the symptoms of an ingrown nail infection, so you know when to seek medical attention.

Paronychia (Nail Infection)

The most common cause of paronychia (nail inflammation) is a bacterial infection. Cuticle and nail fold cuts allow bacteria to enter the skin (the skin around the nail). Antibiotics are effective in treating most nail infections. Typically, paronychia doesn’t result in significant health issues. The infection can occasionally persist for a long time or recur after treatment.

Nail Infection
Common Nail Diseases: Paronychia (Nail Infection)

Underlying Causes

  • Infectious paronychia most frequently results from a staph infection. Staph infections are brought on by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Bacteria infects the skin in the following ways:
    • Cuts, broken skin, and hangnails
    • Ingrown nails (most commonly ingrown toenails).
    • Irritation caused by water or chemicals.
    • Injury to the nailbed or cuticle. Accidents, nail-biting, and frequent manicures or pedicures can all cause trauma.
  • Paronychia can also be caused by some medications. Retinoids, anti-cancer medications, HIV medications, and some antibiotics are among these medications.


  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness around the nail
  • Red skin that is warm to the touch.
  • Pus under the skin: A white- to yellow-colored pus-filled abscess may form. If an abscess develops, antibiotics and/or drainage may be required.
  • In severe cases, fever and gland pain


  • Antibiotics: These drugs kill the bacteria that cause infections. Follow your provider’s instructions and finish the entire course of antibiotics to prevent the infection from returning.
  • If a pus buildup persists, your provider may make a small cut on the nail bed to drain the pus. Maintain cleanliness in the area and replace the bandage with fresh, clean, dry, flaky, healthy-looking skin.

At-home Care

  • Do not chew or bite at your hangnails or nails. Avoid grabbing at your cuticles.
  • Avoid having your nails cut too short. Avoid cutting too close to the nail fold when trimming cuticles.
  • Wash your hands frequently and keep your nails neat to practice good hygiene. Make use of mild soaps that won’t irritate your skin.
  • If your skin is dry, apply lotion to your cuticles and nail fold. The skin can crack from being too dry.
  • If you work with chemicals, put on waterproof gloves; otherwise, your hands will stay wet for a long time.

What are the different types of paronychia?

Paronychia is classified into two types. Both types have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Acute paronychia: Acute paronychia symptoms appear over a few hours or days. The infection is limited to the nail fold and does not spread further inside the finger or toe. Symptoms resolve in less than six weeks with treatment.
Acute Paronychia
Type of paronychia: Acute paronychia
  • Chronic paronychia: Symptoms appear more slowly than acute paronychia and last for six weeks or longer. Several fingers or toes can become infected at the same time. Along with the bacterial infection, a nail fungus (usually caused by a fungus called candida) may develop. Candida is one of several fungi that can cause fungal infections in the toes.
Chronic paronychia
Type of paronychia: Chronic paronychia

Bottom line About Nail diseases

The present nail diseases chart was designed with the goal of helping you recognize common types of nail disorders, symptoms, causes, and how to treat them. Preventing nail diseases generally comes down to proper hygiene, a nutritious diet, and regular maintenance of the nails.

Preventing nail diseases
Preventing nail diseases

Take into account consulting a medical expert about potential underlying nail diseases if you experience any unexplained symptoms. The majority of the underlying causes of nail problems are simple to address once they are discovered.

You can get more information about online dermatology consultation by click on the link.

As discussed in this nail diseases chart, nail disorders are challenging to treat and can be frustrating for both patients and clinicians. Because of the slow growth rate of the nail plate and the difficulty of getting medications to penetrate into the nail tissues, treatment results are usually delayed for several months.

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ben August 11, 2023 - 10:31 am

I have heard that there is a relationship between nail diseases and overall health. is that right?

Remotederm August 14, 2023 - 1:35 pm

Yes, there can be a connection between nail diseases and overall health. For example, nail fungal infections can be a sign of a weakened immune system.

Liam December 2, 2023 - 8:48 am

Hi, How often should I have my nails checked by a dermatologist?

Remotederm December 4, 2023 - 12:56 am

Hello Liam! The frequency of nail check-ups with a dermatologist depends on individual circumstances, but it’s generally recommended to have regular check-ups if you have a history of nail problems or if you notice any changes in the appearance or health of your nails.


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