Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Separation of the nail from the nail bed, medically known as onycholysis, is a common condition that results in a white appearance of the affected part of the nail. Fingernail or toenail separation can have numerous causes but is typically related to trauma or a fungal infection of the nails. Nail separation can sometimes be associated with other abnormalities of the nails, including nail pitting, flaking or crumbling, or other damage to or changes in the nail. Toenail or fingernail separation is generally painless and may occur gradually, without the affected individual being aware of a distinct cause. In some instances, onycholysis can be related to systemic conditions, including connective tissue disorders or hyperthyroidism.
Brady, Mark P. "Fingernail and Toenail Abnormalities: Nail the Diagnosis." Feb. 1, 2017. Medscape. <https://reference.medscape.com/features/slideshow/fingernail-abnormalities>.
Hecker, Melanie S. "Onycholysis." Mar. 7, 2017. Medscape. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1105738-overview>.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms and Treatment
What is hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid...
Picture of Fungal Nail Infection
Nails that are infected with a fungus may become discolored (yellowish-brown or opaque), thick and brittle, and may separate from...
Picture of Onycholysis
Loosening of the nail from the nail bed, usually starting at the border of the nail. See a picture of Onycholysis and learn more...
Picture of Onychomycosis (Fungal Nail Infection)
The most common fungus infection of the nails is onychomycosis. See a picture of Onychomycosis (Fungal Nail Infection) and learn...
Causes of Nail Separation
Amyloidosis is a group of diseases resulting from abnormal deposition of certain proteins (amyloids) in various bodily areas. The...
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of...
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from...
Fungal nails (onychomycosis) may be caused by many species of fungi, but the most common is Trichophyton rubrum. Distal subungal...
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone resulting from an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased...
Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is a disfiguring disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. The disease is spread...
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease....
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales....
Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body...
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in...
Syphilis in Women
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a spiral-shaped type of bacteria known as a spirochete. There are...
Warts (Common Warts)
Common warts are skin growths causes by the human papillomavirus. There are many types of warts, including plantar warts, common...
Other Causes of Nail Separation
- Bacterial Infection
- Chemical Dermatitis
- Congenital Abnormalities
- Excessive Exposure to Moisture
- Histiocytosis X
- Reiter Syndrome
Examples of Medications for Nail Separation
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter