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Skin Care and Diseases

Abnornal fingernail growth

12/06/2006

Question:

About five years ago I banged my thumbnail pretty hard while scaping paint. I don`t recall the nail turning black and it never fell off. But ever since it has been growing abnormally. It is curved over like a "claw", is not flat like my other thumbnail but rather curved over a large bump, and grows skewed to one side. I`m not sure what kind of doctor to ask about this... Not sure there is anything to fix it, but it`s real unattractive. Thanks.

Answer:

It is hard to tell you what has happened, but it sounds as though the nail matrix, that is the growing part of the nail that is toward the palm of you hand, has been injured and/or the nailbed has been injured.  It is also possible that the trauma was unrelated and that you have an underlying problem in the digital bone or soft tissue.

Please see your board certified dermatologist and/or a skilled hand surgeon, either orthopedic or plastic surgery, for a complete review.  I would suggest that x-rays be done, looking at not only the bony structure but also the soft tissue.

 

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati