Onychodystrophy; is any disorder of the nails which can be congenital, arisen from trauma, bacterially formed or as a result of fungal infection. It is any alteration of nail form and structure or any of its parts. Onychodystrophy encompasses a wide spectrum of nail disorders. Caused by either external or internal, factors, nail dystrophy may manifest as a misshapen, damaged, infected or discoloured nail, either, the toenails, the fingernails or both. It represents various pathologic processes of the nails such as infectious and non-infectious disorders including Pathogenic; where nail structures are invaded by bacteria for example, onychomycosis; a fungal infection, systemic conditions such as psoriasis; a skin disease, characterised by a pitted surface, or an allergic or irritant dermatitis; where the skin has become swollen and sore. Nail changes may also be a clue to other dermatological or systemic diseases.
Possible causes of onychodystrophy –
- A Congenital nail diseases; is a disease of physical abnormality that was present at birth.
- Onychomycosis; A fungal infection where most cutaneous; skin infections are the work of the homogeneous; a similar structured, group of keratinophilic fungi; exhibiting an infinity to keratin, known as dermatophytes; a fungal parasite on the skin, of which Trichophyton rubrum, is a major cause.
- Occupational factors may cause nail disfiguring, for example constant immersion in water or other chemicals and liquids may eventually affect the nail structure, drying it out to become brittle.
- Mechanical effect; where the nail plate has become deformed as a result of constant pressure and heat remoulding the structure. For example onychocryptosis; ingrowing toenails as a result of a trauma.
- Skin diseases; such as eczema, or psoriasis.
- Internal diseases, for example diabetes, thyroid malfunction or heart and lung disease can affect the growth structure of the toe nail, as can a reaction to drugs such as antimicrobials.
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