Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do fingernails turn brown at the top?"
What makes fingernails turn brown at the top? I am very scrupulous about keeping my hands and fingers clean, and yet my fingernails look perpetually dirty because of this brown hue. Is is a sign of some kind of deeper problem with my hands and fingers that I should learn about?
Nails changes are one of the most common concerns that people have. Occasionally they do require medical evaluation and treatment. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. Occasionally nails can separate from the nail bed, usually giving the nail a whitish hue but sometimes also causing a brown hue. This might be the cause if you are frequently cleaning under the nails which could cause them to separate. Additionally, if there is some trauma either from vigorous cleaning or from tapping of the nail, bruising could collect and lend to the brownish hue. Another likely possibility would be a fungal infection of the nails. Fungal infections cause gradual thickening, deformity, and color changes of the nails. They usually require treatment by a physician with antifungal medications. Occasionally, a more serious underlying general medical problem, such as psoriasis, can cause deformity and color changes of the nails and can require investigation by a doctor. As always the diagnosis and the treatment of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor or your dermatologist is recommended.
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