Nail Diseases: A Study of 1973 Cases

  • Ahu Yorulmaz Ankara Numune Research and Education Hospital
  • Basak Yalcin


Background: The nail is a horny structure covering the tips of the digits. This semihard ectodermal skin appendage not only protects the distal phalanx, but also assists fine motor activities and enhances the sensitivity of the fingertips. Nail diseases continue to be one of the frequent causes of dermatology consultations. However, current literature on the prevalence of nail diseases in general populations is still limited. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of nail diseases among outpatients of a dermatology clinic and to determine factors associated with nail diseases. Methods: A total of 1973 patients [850 men and 1123 women; mean age, 42.1 ± 17.9 years (range: 18–100 years)] were prospectively enrolled. Following a thorough dermatological examination, nail findings of the patients were recorded. Mann-Whitney U and χ2 tests were used for statistical analysis, with a significance threshold of p < 0.05. Results: Nail abnormalities/diseases were observed in 560 of 1973 patients (28.4%). The most frequently observed nail abnormalities/diseases were onychomycosis (27.5%), leukonychia (8.6%) and splinter hemorrhages (7.9%). A Mann-Whitney U test showed that there was a significant relationship between age and prevalence of nail abnormalities/diseases (p < 0.001). In addition, there was statistically significant relationship between gender and prevalence rates of nail abnormalities/diseases (p < 0.001). Conclusions: We have demonstrated positive associations between a number of factors and prevalence of nail diseases. Further studies are required to support these findings.



Shirato R, Abe A, Tsuchiya H, Honda M. Effect of fingernail length on the hand dexterity. J Phys Ther Sci. 2017;29:1914-1919.

Iorizzo M, Piraccini BM, Tosti A. Nail cosmetics in nail disorders. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2007;6:53-8.

Sano H, Ogawa R. Clinical Evidence for the Relationship between Nail Configuration and Mechanical Forces. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2014;2:e115.

Gupta AK, Jain HC, Lynde CW, Macdonald P, Cooper EA, Summerbell RC. Prevalence and epidemiology of onychomycosis in patients visiting physicians' offices: a multicenter canadian survey of 15,000 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000;43:244-8.

Faergemann J, Baran R. Epidemiology, clinical presentation and diagnosis of onychomycosis. Br J Dermatol. 2003 Sep;149 Suppl 65:1-4.

Sigurgeirsson B, Baran R. The prevalence of onychomycosis in the global population: a literature study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014;28:1480-91.

Jemec GB, Kollerup G, Jensen LB, Mogensen S Nail abnormalities in nondermatologic patients: prevalence and possible role as diagnostic aids. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995;32:977-81.

Chang P, Meaux T. Onychogryphosis: A Report of Ten Cases. Skinmed. 2015;13:355-9.

Pacan P, Grzesiak M, Reich A, Kantorska-Janiec M, Szepietowski JC . Onychophagia and onychotillomania: prevalence, clinical picture and comorbidities. Acta Derm Venereol. 2014;94:67-71.

Kumar V, Aggarwal S, Sharma A, Sharma V. Nailing the diagnosis: koilonychia. Perm J. 2012;16:65.

Baran R, Schoon D. Nail fragility syndrome and its treatment. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004;3:131-7.

Hardin J, Haber RM. Onychomadesis: literature review. Br J Dermatol. 2015;172:592-6.

Original Research