Nail Separation: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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.

REFERENCES:

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>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/2/2017
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