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[how to strengthen nails]Proximal Nail Fold: Pictures, Function, Care, and Medical Concerns

  Like other parts of the nail, the proximal nail fold can develop medical issues. These include:

  Physical trauma to the proximal nail fold can lead to paronychia, or inflammation of the skin around the nail. This includes trauma like cuts or breaks in the skin.

  If physical trauma separates the nail from the nail bed, retronychia can occur. Retronychia is when a new nail grows beneath the old nail, pushing the latter upward. This causes inflammation in the proximal nail fold.

  Examples of physical trauma that can cause proximal nail fold inflammation include:

  picking at the nailbiting the nailgetting manicures or pedicuresapplying fake fingernailsdeveloping ingrown toenailswearing poorly fitted shoes (for toenails)engaging in sports activitiesapplying physical pressureremoving the cuticle

  If the proximal nail fold is cut or broken, it should be treated like any other wound. You can also soak the affected finger or toe in warm water to soothe inflammation.

  For retronychia, you’ll need to get the old nail removed by a medical professional.

  If the proximal nail fold is repeatedly exposed to irritants and allergens, it can become inflamed. This includes substances like cleaning products or food.

  People who are prone to this type of irritation of the proximal nail fold include:

  house cleanerslaundry workerscooksdishwashersswimmers

  Treatment includes limiting exposure to the offending substances. This may include wearing gloves or using different products. Topical steroid creams can also provide relief.

  Some connective tissue diseases can affect various parts of the nail, including the proximal nail fold. Examples of these diseases include:

  systemic sclerosislupus erythematosusdermatomyositis

  These conditions may cause changes in the proximal nail fold like:

  discolorationrednessvisible blood vessels (dermatomyositis)

  Treatment should focus on managing the underlying cause.

  Skin diseases can affect the nail around the skin, including the proximal nail fold. This includes conditions like:

  psoriasiseczemadermatitis

  These conditions may cause changes to the proximal nail fold, including:

  swellingthickeninginflammation

  Bacterial and fungal infections can affect the proximal nail fold.

  Usually, bacterial infections in the fold develop after an injury. The injury allows harmful bacteria to enter the fold, resulting in infection. Symptoms include:

  rednessswellingtendernesspainpus

  Meanwhile, fungal infections often affect the entire nail. But one type, called proximal subungal onychomycosis, starts at the proximal nail fold and spreads up the nail. This fungal infection typically affects people with compromised immune systems.

  Bacterial infections are treated with topical antibiotics, while fungal infections are treated with topical antifungal medications.