Inflamed Cuticles

What Causes Inflamed Skin Around Nails?

Inflamed skin around nails can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose inflamed skin around nails, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "inflamed skin around nails" as a symptom.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Fungal Infection
  • Zinc Need
  • Lupus (SLE)

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
moderate frequency of sex
general fungal/yeast infections
sensitivity to bright light
very deformed toenails
unpleasant smell sensations
H2-blocker antacid use
mildly elevated ANA levels
PPI antacid use
yellow/yellowish fingernails
somewhat disturbed sleep
calcium-based antacid use
darker/redder skin color
... and more than 40 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of inflamed skin around nails:
Cause Probability Status
Fungal Infection 94% Confirm
Zinc Need 30% Unlikely
Lupus (SLE) 3% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Fingernail/Toenail Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about inflamed cuticles:
Do you experience inflamed/red cuticles (the skin around the edge of your nails)?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Slightly - Occasionally / one or two nails
→ Significantly - Regularly / a few nails
→ Severely - Usually or always / several nails
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate minor inflamed cuticles, inflamed cuticles or major inflamed cuticles, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythromatosis)
Inflammation of the nail fold (red, puffy skin around the nail) may indicate lupus or another connective tissue disorder.

Related Questions

Fingernail/Toenail Symptoms