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Fingernail Pain

Fingernail pain is an unusual kind of discomfort which may or may not get noticed depending on how severe it is. If the pain is frequent or worsening, it is imperative that you rule out its causes.
Narayani Karthik
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2018
Although, nails are non organic by nature, they too are susceptible to diseases. Even while we get treated for various ailments, one of the parameters that is checked for is the color and texture of the nails. Hence, doctors always have a glance at the fingernails before they proceed with further diagnosis or treatment.
Pain in Fingernails - What Does it Indicate?
Fingernail pain may be a manifestation of the following conditions:
Paronychia :
This infection is a bacterial/fungal induced infection. The prominent symptoms felt on the onset of this infection are swelling of nail folds, followed by a redness. People who have their hands in water for prolonged period of time are more susceptible to this problem.
Pseudomonas :
This is a bacterial infection which affects the region between nail plate and nail bed. The first symptom observed is discoloration of the nail. If the symptom is ignored, the nail plate will tend to lift from the nail bed and cause stinging nail pain.
Herpetic Whitlow :
This infection starts off with a burning sensation on fingertip. The lymph nodes near the fingertip may swell and cause pain in the infected area. If the symptoms persist for a longer time, the person may experience a low-grade fever.
Cellulitis :
Cellulitis is one of the causes of pain and discomfort in the nails. This bacterial infection causes an inflammation on the connective tissue in the dermal and subcutaneous layers of skin under finger nails. The infected area is usually warm and causes pain. This can also lead to restricting free movement of fingers.
Felon :
A constantly paining nail tip could be caused by this infection. The infected area swells with accumulation of pus, causing more pain.
Onychogryposis :
Due to some external injury or trauma, the fingernail thickens and the nail plate curves inward, thereby pinching the nail bed. This is quite painful and is cured by surgical intervention.
Onychomycosis :
This is a fungal infection caused by dermatophytes and yeast. This fingernail fungus invades the edges and bases of the nails causing inflammation in the nail bed.
Note: Apart from the above listed causes, anemia (severe iron deficiency), malnutrition and hereditary factors also cause fingernail pain.
What is the Treatment?
Anti fungal creams and lotions offer instant pain relief. Oral antibiotics like itraconazole, terbinafine and fluconazole are recommended if there is infection on the nail plate. Erythromycin or cephalexin are used for treating bacterial infections like paronychia.
The best home remedy to treat a painful fingernail is to soak fingers in a bowl of lukewarm water with Epsom salt. The swelling will reduce considerably, also relieving the finger off the nail pain. Even apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can be used to mitigate the pain.
Preventive Measures
Infections and diseases attack when we don't care for ourselves! Hence, it is better to take some preventive measures and follow them to keep our nails healthy and free from fungal infections:
  • Trim nails regularly.
  • Use waterproof gloves when working in wet conditions.
  • Wash hands with soap frequently, and dry them with fresh tissue papers.
  • Inculcate a healthy diet with enough protein and vitamin supplements.
  • Avoid nail-biting.
Finger nails are constituted of dead cells. But any change in their color and texture indicates that there is an anomaly in the body (like jaundiced people have yellowish tinge on their finger nails). Hence nail care is important. Hope this article helped you in finding effective remedies for curing disorders of the nails. After all, who doesn't want healthy fingernails? So take care!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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