Periungual warts are warts that typically develop around fingernails and toenails. Sometimes, these warts grow under the nail and disfigures the nail. They usually appear as thickened, fissured cauliflower-like skin around the nail plate.
Biting of nails increases susceptibility to this kind of warts. It causes damage to the nail by either lifting the nail from the skin or partially detaching the nail from the skin.
The patient may suffer pain as a result of the wart extending underneath the nail, and if infection causes injury or damage to the nail matrix, the nail may be deformed permanently.
Causes of Periungual Warts
Periungual warts are usually caused by Human papilloma virus (HPV), the virus responsible for the outbreak of warts. We have different strains and subtypes of HPV that can be contracted by anyone. The breaking of the skin surface makes it easier for the virus to take hold.
The weak immune system can also cause periungual warts. The function of the immune system is to work as the body’s first line of defense. When the immune system is weak, they will be unable to fight against the foreign material introduced into the body (Contagion).
In this case of a low immune system, warts can become prolonged with the virus persisting over a longer period, and they even spread to other areas of the body. In the case of Periungual warts, this weak immune system can be dangerous as the skin lesions stimulated by a violent outburst of warts can cause lasting or even permanent damage to your nails.
Poor nutrition can also cause this kind of warts because the food we eat plays a paramount role in keeping our immune cells active. We should increase our intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and plain water so as to maintain our immune system and not sugary or fatty snacks, alcohol and caffeinated beverages etc. which can affect the immune system.
A bad habit like biting of the nail can cause this kind of warts because when you bite your nails, the skin surrounding the cuticle can be weakened and it makes it dry, more brittle and easier for the HPV to penetrate.
Symptoms of Periungual Warts
The symptoms of Periungual warts include:
- Dry, rough bumps which are caused by an excess of the rough protein keratin
- Discolouration of the skin can occur during an outburst of warts, especially around the affected area.
- An overgrowth or thickening of the nail usually occurs.
Treatments of Periungual Warts
Certain methods can be used to treat periungual warts which include:
- Tropical creams like the bazuka gel which contains high levels of salicylic acid, used to deal with this kind of warts.
- Salicylic acid can be used to treat it which helps to reduce the appearance of periungual warts by moisturizing the dry bumps of excess skin.
- Laser surgery is the most common surgical approach that can be used to remove these warts. The surgery works by using an intense beam of light to burn away
How can periungual warts spread?
Once you have periungual warts growing on your nails, it can spread to other parts of your body and to others too. For example, if there is a wart on your finger and you chew the wart, warts can grow inside the mouth. If there is also a wart on your fingers and you use that same finger to scratch other parts of the body, you can spread warts to other regions of the body, and there are numerous examples on how it can spread.