Get insights on the causes and treatment of different nail bed infection and injuries such as purple, blue and white nail bed. You will also learn more about damaged and nail separation from the nail bed.
Nail Bed Infection
Nail infection is also known as paronychia. It is an infection of the nail bed and the areas surrounding the toenail or fingernail. It is a common nail condition and if not treated, it may spread to the whole figure or toe. There are two types of paronychia as named below:
- Acute paronychia
This is usually a sudden nail infection. The areas around infected toenail or fingernail is normally experiences pain, redness, swelling, warmth and presence of pus collection. This infection is caused by a bacteria, commonly staphylococci which is normally found on the skin.
The staphylococci or other types of bacteria enters the skin around the nail through the damaged areas caused by trauma such as nail bed injuries, nail biting, ingrown toenails, chemical irritants, picking at the skin around the nail, finger sucking and overaggressive manicure or pedicure that results to cutting and tearing of the nail cuticle.
You can easily treat acute paronychia by yourself when the infection is mild. Soaking the infected fingernail or toenail in warm water for 15 minutes daily may help to relieve the pain, swelling and tenderness. When the pus is present, you may also drain it.
However, severe acute paronychia may require a doctor’s treatment. You should seek medical treatment if the abscess is forming and requires to be drained by the doctor. When the symptoms becomes severe, for instance, the redness extends beyond the areas around the infected nail. This shows that it is a serious infection that requires medical treatment.
The doctor will numb the infected area and drain off the pus. He or she may also prescribe some antibiotics such as clindamycin or cephalexin. When the nail bed infection is very serious, the doctor may perform a surgery to remove the whole nail for a better treatment.
- chronic paronychia
This infection normally develop slowly. It normally causes gradual symptoms that includes redness, swelling and tenderness of the areas around infected toenail or fingernail. This infection usually attacks the nail bed and the folds of the tissues that surrounds the toenail or fingernail.
Chronic paronychia is common in individuals who are suffering from diabetes and those who hands and feet are subjected to moist, warm and dumpy environment. It is caused by candida or other types of nail fungus. You are likely to get infected with the fungi by walking barefooted in public washrooms and swimming pools or other dumpy areas that are used by many people.
There are other jobs or activities that exposes the hands and foot to water and chemicals that increases the chances of nail fungus infection. Such jobs includes dishwashing, house cleaning, bartending and nursing among others.
When you get infected, the cuticle separates from the nail, this makes the area between the two to become more vulnerable to infections that may cause toenail falling off and other complications. This infection is treated by first of all stopping its causes. You may consider home remedies for toenail fungus for mild infections.
Since this nail condition is caused by fungus, your doctor will prescribe some antifungal medication that are applied on the affected areas. Such medicines includes clotrimazole or ketoconazole. When the symptoms does not improve, the oral antifungals and steroids may be used to treat the nail bed infection.
Purple Nail Beds
The color of your nails can tell much about your health. When you are diagnosed with certain body conditions, your doctor may check the color of your nails. When you are health, the color of your nails is supposed to be pink.
Discoloration or change in color of your nails may be symptomatic to underlying body condition. Some internal body condition may cause white spots on nails and other abnormalities. Purple nail bed may also be an indication of different body illnesses. Some of the causes of purple nail beds includes the following:
- Poor blood circulation in your body
When the color of your nail beds turn purple, there is high chances of poor blood circulation in the body. The purple color may be accompanied with some tingling which is an indication that the nails are not getting enough blood.
When the nails are supplied by enough blood, they will appear to be brighter red or pink. This shows that they get enough oxygen. When there is inadequate blood supply to the nails, they appears darker or purple. This means that they lack enough oxygen.
If you are a smoker, your fingernails are likely to change the color from normal to purple. This is because your body requires more oxygen. Therefore, it will take oxygen from other organs of your body including the fingers and the toes. This may results to purple color of your nail beds.
- Anemia or low iron in your body
A part from nail bed infection, anemia or low iron in your body may result to purple nail beds. When the iron level of your body is low, it means that the blood is not being oxygenated adequately. Therefore, some parts of your body will be less oxygenated.
This problem can be fixed by taking iron and vitamin C supplements every day in the morning before taking your first meal. This will help in the absorption of oxygen.
- Injury on the nail bed
When it is only one nail that has changed the color to purple, then it may be due to an injury. An injury or broken blood vessel can cause a bruise under the nail. You are supposed to visit your podiatrist to help in draining the blood that might have accumulated in the nail bed.
Nail Bed Injury
Toenails and fingernails may experience common accidental injuries. There are different injuries that may cause trauma to your nails. The common injuries results from cuts, when caught in closing door and some types of pressure applied on the nail such as ill-fitting shoe.
Nail bed injury may cause loss of nail or lead to nail bed infection if not good care is taken on the damaged area. When a nail is lost during an injury, it should be able to grow back after several month. The nail may experience some symptoms and physical changes after an injury that includes the following:
- Bleeding occurs. The blood may ooze out of the nail bed or the blood vessels may get damaged and cause subungual haemotoma.
- Grooves or ridges in fingernails and toenails may occur. You may notice this lines several month after the injury.
- Onychogryphosis or thickening of nails occurs a few month after the injury. Ill-fitting shoes and other body condition such as poor blood circulation may cause this condition.
- Partial or complete nail bed separation may occur. Trauma from injury, chemicals and other internal body conditions may result to this nail problem.
- A thin streak of red or brown may run vertically on the nail blade. This is causes by damage of the small blood vessels found in the nail bed.
- Minor injuries may cause white spots to appear on the affected nails. They usually occurs after a few month when you might have forgotten about the injury.
- You may experience nail discoloration. The nails may change the color from normal to brown or purple.
- The nail plate may also change the shape, texture and structure.
A minor injury may cause pain, bleeding other discomforts. To ease the pain and prevent nail bed infection, you may apply some of the home treatments for a nail injury that includes the following:
- For a painful nail injury, apply a cold compress over the affected area. Wrap ice cubes in a clean towel and place it over the affected area until it stops paining.
- Move to a cool place and elevate the affected foot or hand. This helps to relieve the pain.
- Take over-the-counter pain killers to alleviate the pain and other discomforts.
- If bleeding occurs, apply some pressure at the base of the affected toe or finger for some time. Use warm water and antibacterial soap to clean the affected area. Apply an antiseptic ointment and cover it with a bandage.
- If the nail is torn, trim it short to prevent further trauma.
However, in case of a serious injury, you should seek medical advice especially when the injury causes complete nail separation from the bed. When the affected area shows signs of infection, you should also seek medical care.
Blue Nail Beds
Blue nail beds is also medically known as cyanosis. It is a condition that is characterized by blush color of the skin and mucus membrane. It is normal to have blue nail beds when you are in a place that has a very cold temperature. However, this nail discoloration may also be an indication of a serious internal body condition. The common causes of blue nail bed includes the following:
- Blood clot which may block sufficient blood supply to the feet and arms. This may interfere with the normal body’s ability to deliver oxygenated red blood cells that has fresh oxygen.
- Argyria may also cause blue nail beds. This is a condition that results from exposure to chemical compounds that contain silver.
- Lungs and breathing conditions may also cause blue nail beds due to insufficient oxygen intake into the body. Such conditions includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema among other respiratory diseases.
- Blue nail beds can also be caused by a condition known as cyanosis. This condition is commonly caused by lack or low levels of oxygen circulation in the red blood cells.
If you have persistent blue nail beds, visit your doctor right away. He or she may person several tests to determine the exact cause of your condition. The doctors may also check any other possible nail bed infection that may cause nail discoloration and provide the necessary treatment.
White Nail Beds
Having healthy nails with its normal pink color may also indicate a good health of your body. Nail discolorations may be symptomatic to their underlying body conditions. It is better to find out the cause and treat the underlying causes.
You are not supposed to worry much especially when the white marks appears on one or two fingers or toes. Most of the white marks results from the minor injuries that causes trauma on the nail. Such marks usually appears a few month when you have forgotten about the injury. The other possible causes of this nail condition includes the following:
- Anemia or iron deficiency in the body
- Liver, kidney or heart conditions
- Overactive thyroid.
Damaged Nail Bed
When you get injured, the soft tissues under the nail plate may get damaged. The various injuries on the fingernail or toenail may result to bleeding, pain, torn nail, complete or partial nail loss. It can also lead to nail bed infection when good care is not taken during the healing period.
Damaged toenail bed or fingernail bed is usually caused by crushing from heavy pressure applied on the nail plate, cuttings and tearing. For instance, when your fingernails are caught in a closing car door or when you hammer your nail, the nail bed is likely to get damaged.
The symptoms of damaged nail bed includes the following:
- Bruising or collection of blood under the nail
- Pain in the affected area
- Loosening of the nail
- Complete or partial nail loss
- Deformed nail and
Treatment of damaged nail bed is determined by the intensity of the injury. Minor damage can easily be treated while at home while severe injury requires a health care provider. Your condition will determine if partial or total nail has to be removed for a new nail to grow.
Nail Bed Repair
The nail bed repair involves the removal of foreign materials from the affected area, preservation of tissues as much as possible, taking care of the wound to prevent nail bed infections and splitting. It is important to have a nail bed repair after the injury. It has the following benefits:
- Speeds up the healing process of the damaged nail
- It helps to prevent the risks of developing an infection on the affected area
- It decreases the pain experienced after the injury
- It reduces the chances of nail deformity.
During the procedure, the surgeon will inject a local anesthetic to the affected toenail or fingernail. Once the area will have become numb, the surgeon will remove the nail and examine the nail bed tissues. He or she will repair the necessary tissues.
The surgeon will clean the affected area, apply antiseptic ointment and apply a sterile dressing over the affected area. You will now be ready to leave the clinic. You may be given some painkillers to relieve the pain.
More sources and references:
Paronychia treatment: http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/paronychia-nail-infection-treatment
Why do my fingernails turn purple? : https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110914192805AAdoFHg
Nail injuries: http://www.webmd.boots.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/nail-injuries
Nail abnormalities: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nail-abnormalities/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Nail bed laceration repair: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/80792-overview