What is Psoriatic Arthritis Nails

Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis Nails: Signs, Symptoms, and Care

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects both the skin and joints. One distinct feature of psoriatic arthritis is its impact on the nails. Psoriatic arthritis nails can exhibit various changes and abnormalities, which can provide valuable insights into the condition. In this article, we will explore what psoriatic arthritis nails are, their signs and symptoms, and essential tips for managing and caring for them. Understanding these aspects can help individuals with psoriatic arthritis navigate their condition more effectively.

  1. Nail Pitting:

Nail pitting is a common characteristic of psoriatic arthritis nails. It refers to the presence of small depressions or dents on the nail surface. These pits may vary in depth and size and can give the nails a pitted or irregular appearance. Nail pitting is often associated with psoriasis, a skin condition that commonly accompanies psoriatic arthritis.

  1. Onycholysis:

Onycholysis is another nail abnormality frequently seen in psoriatic arthritis. It refers to the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed, resulting in a gap or white area at the tip of the nail. Onycholysis can make the affected nails appear loose or detached, and it can be accompanied by discoloration or thickening of the nail.

  1. Nail Discoloration:

Psoriatic arthritis can cause changes in the color of the nails. Nails may develop yellowish or brownish discoloration, and in some cases, they may appear oil-spotted or have red or white patches. These changes are often a result of the underlying inflammation and can vary in severity.

  1. Splinter Hemorrhages:

Splinter hemorrhages are thin, vertical lines that resemble splinters under the nails. They are caused by bleeding within the nail bed and can appear as dark red or brown lines. While splinter hemorrhages can occur due to various factors, they are sometimes observed in individuals with psoriatic arthritis.

  1. Nail Lifting:

Psoriatic arthritis can lead to the lifting or separation of the nail plate from the nail bed, a condition known as onychomadesis. This can result in a visible gap between the nail plate and the nail bed, often accompanied by pain or discomfort. Nail lifting can make the nails more susceptible to infection and further damage.

Managing Psoriatic Arthritis Nails:

While psoriatic arthritis nails can be challenging to manage, there are several strategies that can help improve their appearance and reduce discomfort:

  • Maintain Good Nail Hygiene:
  • Keep nails clean and dry to prevent fungal or bacterial infections.
  • Trim nails regularly and file any rough edges or jagged surfaces.
  • Moisturize Nails and Cuticles:
  • Apply moisturizers or emollients to the nails and cuticles to keep them hydrated and prevent dryness.
  • Protect Nails:
  • Wear gloves when performing tasks that may expose the nails to trauma or chemicals.
  • Avoid biting or picking at the nails, as this can worsen existing nail problems.
  • Seek Medical Guidance:
  • Consult a dermatologist or rheumatologist for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.
  • Medications, including topical creams, oral medications, or biologic therapies, may be prescribed to manage psoriatic arthritis and its associated nail issues.
  • Nail Cosmetics and Coverings:
  • Use nail polish or artificial nails to camouflage nail abnormalities and boost self-confidence, if desired.
  • Choose gentle nail products and avoid harsh chemicals that may worsen nail conditions.

Psoriatic arthritis nails can present various changes and abnormalities that can significantly impact the appearance and health of the nails. By understanding the signs, symptoms, and management strategies, individuals with psoriatic arthritis can take proactive steps to care for their nails and minimize discomfort. It is crucial to seek medical advice for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to individual needs. Remember, with proper care and support, it is possible to effectively manage psoriatic arthritis nails and maintain overall well-being.