Hands turned to present ridged, irregular nails

What Did Psoriatic Arthritis Do To My Well-Shaped Nails?

Last updated: April 2022

If I'm being honest, I don’t know, I don’t remember ever having nice well-shaped nails. I thought my nails were normal. Sure, my nails looked different than everyone else's, but I never gave it a thought. I always had dents and pits in my nails and some sort of horizontal lines.

I started noticing the hands of my friends. Everybody had normal smooth, nails but when I looked at mine, they had different colors and were slightly uneven. I ignored it - chalking it up to overthinking.

Filing it down...

Just like when you ignore anything, things tend to go from bad to worse. My nails worsened to the point where I had to pay a visit to my doctor. My psoriasis was getting under my nails and became very painful. I was diagnosed immediately with nail psoriasis.

The doctor informed me that this was the first symptom to appear in the condition of psoriatic arthritis. Well, I already had that - and it took me 25 years to get a diagnosis. That is a whole other story.

Painful and challenging symptoms

There are so many signs of nail psoriasis. It could nail that is decolored, spots can be white, red, or brown. As I am writing this, so many things come to my mind that I hadn’t thought about in 50 years.

I had long brittle lines, infected baselines, and bleeding hangnails. I could squeeze the baseline and pus would come out. I never gave it a thought.

If I could just go back 50 years, I would have realized that my nails mirrored my whole life with psoriasis. Depending on the severity of symptoms, whether skin or nails, it informs us about how bad it is or how well it’s being treated.

What does treatment even look like?

Nail psoriasis takes longer than any other part of the body to heal - they grow slowly. My doctor said it would take 8 to-12 months to see progress. My psoriasis underneath my nail did clear up - but I have always had the pitting.

We are all different and react to treatment differently. You might have to wait years. Doctors can try topical ointments, creams, lotions, or even injections in the nail itself.

We use our hands and feet all the time, so we must take extra care of them. The point I’m trying to make is that your nails are always exposed all the time. So, the threat is real when I say, be careful. Just getting a small bruise or extra pressure can hurt your nails and cause infection to enter your body.

A few tips for managing this difficult symptom...

For so many years, I have dealt with the pain of swollen fingers, it felt like someone was just constantly throwing stones at them. For so many years, I just wanted my nails to be pampered.

Keep your nails well moisturized and try to avoid exposing them to anything without any protective gloves. Always keep them clean but don’t use extra force. Give them love and care.

If you have nail psoriasis or suspect you do, show your hands to your doctor, and consult with them before getting anything done to them. We all loved our girlie stuff and want to look pretty. It doesn’t matter if you have brittle nails or not. We are still beautiful my Psurvivors.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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