Nail Problems

Disorders specifically affecting the nails are few; more often, discolouration or deformity is the result of injury, or of nutritional, respiratory, or heart disorders.

Deformed nails have a variety of causes, including iron deficiency (nails become spoon-shaped), respiratory or heart problems (nails become clubbed, growing round swollen ends of fingers and sometimes toes), Psoriasis (nails become pitted), injury and infection (nails develop horizontal ridges), or simply old age (nails develop vertical ridges, possibly due to malabsorption of Vitamins A, B complex and C, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and essential fatty acids).

Self-help: Preventive measures include keeping nails short, wearing gloves for gardening and rubber gloves if hands are repeatedly immersed in water, trimming toenails straight across to prevent them ingrowing, and wearing shoes which do not press on toenails.

Discoloured nails can be telltales of a variety of conditions, including Anaemia (nails very pale), liver problems (nails whitish) bacterial endocarditis (nails have dark flecks in them which look like splinters), and fungi infections (nails turn whitish and soft or crumbly); nails also turn purplish or black when hit (see sub-ungual haematoma below) or put under gentle but constant pressure for any length of time. White spots on nails are often a sign of zinc or Vitamin A deficiency.

Fungal infections turn the nails white and crumbly, causing ridging and thickening afterwards. Orthodox medicine prescribes antifungal drugs or ointments. However, the homeopathic remedies below should be tried first.

Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 3 weeks

  • Nails brittle, with horny thickening Antimonium 6c
  • Nails deformed, with white spotting Silicea 6c
  • Nails thickened, deformed, brittle or crumbly, inflamed and painful, with blackening Graphites 6c
  • Nails brittle, with skin at base red and swollen Thuja 6c

Self-help: Soak nails twice a day in Calendula solution (10 drops mother tincture to 0.25 litre boiled, cooled water) or apply Calendula ointment. If it is very persistent, rub Whitfield's ointment, available from chemists, thoroughly round the sides and bed of the nail.

Ingrowing toenails are usually caused by ill-fitting shoes or by tapering nails at sides instead of cutting them straight across; occasionally they can be due to problems in the nailbed. As the sides of the nail curve under, surrounding skin becomes inflamed and tender. Orthodox treatment is minor surgery. In early stages, process can be arrested by working a small piece of lint between side of nail and skin over top of nail and nailbed underneath) after thoroughly bathing toe with Hypericum and Calendula solution (5 drops of mother tincture of each in 0.25 litre [1/2 pint] boiled cooled water). If nail becomes infected, use remedies given for paronychia (see below).

Specific remedies to be given every 12 hours for up to 1 month then see your medical doctor if no improvement

  • To strengthen nails which repeatedly ingrow Magnetis austr. 30c
  • If nails are very brittle Thuja 30c

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Ailment & Diseases

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  Antimonium crud.
  Magnetis austr.
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Other Treatments

  Hypericum and Calendula solution
  Calendula ointment
  Calendula solution
  Whitfield's ointment

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