What is Yellow Nail Syndrome?

yellow nail syndrome

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Yellow Nail Syndrome


Yellow nail syndrome is a rare condition characterized by yellowing, thickening, and slow growth of the nails, particularly the toenails.

It is considered a rare disorder, with an estimated prevalence of less than 1 per 1,000,000 individuals.  It occurs more commonly in adults over the age of 50 but can affect people of any age, including children.

In addition to nail changes, yellow nail syndrome may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as lymphedema (swelling of the limbs due to fluid accumulation), respiratory symptoms (such as chronic cough or difficulty breathing) and pleural effusions (fluid accumulation around the lungs).

What does yellow nail syndrome look like?

The hallmark sign of yellow nail syndrome is yellowish nails that curve and thicken.  You may experience:

  • Breakdown of your cuticles, the thin skin that protects your nailbed.
  • Nail curving.
  • Nail separation from your nailbed.
  • Nail ridges.
  • Slowed or stopped nail growth.

How do you treat yellow nail syndrome?

Your healthcare provider will treat this condition according to the suspected underlying cause or condition.  For example, if they suspect improper lymph drainage, they may recommend specialized massage to help improve your circulation.  If yellow nail syndrome is associated with excess fluid around your lungs, your healthcare provider may recommend a procedure to drain the fluid.

Other treatments may include:

  • Vitamin E.  You may take vitamin E supplements or apply a nail cream or gel containing vitamin E.  Nail symptoms aren’t usually reversible, but vitamin E can slow or halt the progression of nail changes.
  • Corticosteroids.  You may use steroid creams to treat nail symptoms and reduce inflammation.
  • Antibiotics.  You may take antibiotics to treat a respiratory infection that keeps returning.
Are you suffering from any foot condition?  At The Chelsea Clinic, we can help.  One of our podiatrist can assist and then recommend what treatments are best to get you back on track. Podiatrist South Kensington
Schedule an appointment here or you may call us at +44 (0) 207 101 4000


We hope you have a feetastic day!

-The Chelsea Clinic and Team



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Paola Ash at the Chelsea Clinic

At The Chelsea clinic we have a very specific skill set with regards the foot and ankle. Pleased to offer a bespoke service which is tailored to the individual. With over 20 years experience in the Fitness and Healthcare industry we are registered and qualified with the Health Care Professions Council, the College of Podiatry and the General Osteopathic Council.