- by Dr Sachith Abraham
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- Nov 27 2017
Nail Pitting: Signs, causes, and treatment
When small depressions appear on the surface of the nails then it is called as nail pitting. It can be shallow or deep. Fingernails are more commonly affected than toenails.
There can be one single pit or many pits. A nail with multiple pits can look like the surface of a thimble.
Identifying Nail Pitting
It shows up as shallow or deep holes in your nails. The pitting looks like white spots or other marks, it might even look like your nails have been hit with an ice.
If nail pitting is related to nail psoriasis, as it most often is, then one can also experience:
• Changes to the normal shape
• Changes in nail color
• Loose nails (Onycholysis)
• Red, scaly patches of skin
• Dry, cracked or bleeding skin
• Itching or burning skin
• Stiff or swollen joints
Nail pitting is often a sign of another condition that can include:
• Psoriasis, which causes skin inflammation
• Eczema, a long-term skin condition that makes the skin red, itchy, and cracked
• Reactive arthritis or inflammation caused by an infection elsewhere
• Alopecia areata, which causes temporary bald patches on the scalp
The pits are formed as nail forms. Treating nail pitting can be difficult as topical medications are unable to easily reach through the nail bed.
Doctors may consider corticosteroid injections, phototherapy or light therapy on the affected nails, immunosuppressant medications.
How to limit or reduce nail pitting
You may not be able to prevent pitting in your nails, but you can reduce your risk for worsened symptoms.
You can help keep your nails healthy by:
• staying hydrated
• eating well
• taking vitamin B and zinc
• Clip your nails as short as you can
• Wear gloves if you are doing work with your hands
• Skip manicures. They may cause trauma to your nails and trigger more pitting.
• Use a moisturizer or cream on hands, feet, and in a nail, folds to keep skin hydrated and protected.
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