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Nail Psoriasis

Nail Psoriasis Facts

Psoriasis is a common chronic skin condition. A person with psoriasis typically has patches of raised, red skin with silvery scales. The affected skin may look shiny and red or even have pustules, depending on the type of psoriasis. These skin changes usually occur on the elbows, knees, scalp, and trunk. In the United States, over 3% of people have psoriasis. Psoriasis can also affect the fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, thickening, and irregular contour of the nail.

Most people with psoriasis of the nails also have skin psoriasis (cutaneous psoriasis). Only 5% of people with psoriasis of the nails do not have skin psoriasis. In those with skin psoriasis, 10%-55% have psoriasis of the nails (also called psoriatic nail disease), but it has been estimated that up to 80% of people with psoriasis will have nail involvement at some point in their lifetime. About 10%-20% of people who have skin psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, a specific condition in which people have symptoms of both arthritis and psoriasis. Of people with psoriatic arthritis, 53%-86% have affected nails, often with pitting.

If psoriasis of the nails is severe and is not treated, it can lead to functional and social problems.

What Are Nail Psoriasis Causes and Risk Factors?

Psoriasis is not contagious. How psoriasis of the nails develops is not completely known. It appears to result from a combination of genetic (inherited), immunologic, and environmental factors.

Psoriasis tends to run in families. About 40% of people with psoriasis have a first-degree relative who is known to have the condition. If both parents have psoriasis, a person's risk is up to 75%. Males and females are equally likely to have psoriasis. Psoriasis can occur in people of all races.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Nail Psoriasis:

Nail Psoriasis - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your nail psoriasis?

Nail Psoriasis - Treatment

What treatment has been effective for your nail psoriasis?

Nail Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis of the nail can be very hard to treat, and treatment is not always successful. Treatment is aimed at the white half-moon-shaped root of the nail (the matrix).

Treatments include some of the same topical and systemic therapies that are used to treat psoriasis that affects the skin. In some cases, medicines can be injected into the nail bed.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Psoriasis, Nails »

Psoriatic nail disease has many clinical signs.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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