My challenge for this installment of E-Nails was to help you do research on the Internet for nail disease and disorder information. The most popular topics I found while searching were nail fungus and ingrown toenails. Some of the sites were quite graphic, some far less so. The more graphic websites were created for physicians, not nail technicians. Still, there is much information to be gained from these web pages if you take the time to really read and comprehend the very technical medical terms used in the articles.

I spoke to several seasoned technicians to get an idea about how often they encounter nail disease and disorder issues with their clients. When dealing with possible nail diseases and disorders, you need to be open, honest, and yet delicate with your clients. By law nail technicians can’t diagnose, but you can and should make the client aware there may be a problem and recommend she see a physician. Most state laws are very specific about whether you can work on a client with a potentially contagious disease.

Nancy McCoy of Ripley, Miss., has had several clients come in for a quick nail fix with nails that were black. “I suspected what I then called ‘mold’ on their nails so I posted to the message boards and searched the web for medical pages referring to nail disorders,” says McCoy. After reading page after page of information, McCoy gained enough knowledge to properly educate her clients and learned this was not mold but “greenies” pseudomonas bacteria.

“By using the resources on the web, I have learned so much about salon sanitation and product troubleshooting without cutting corners and sacrificing my clients’ health and well being,” she says.

Shannon Chomanczuk of Vails Gate, N.Y., relates that she has come across a few different nail disorders in her nail career. “I had a client with a terrible ingrown toenail. I knew from research that I should not mess with it and sent her to a local podiatrist who was able to do same-day surgery to correct the problem,” she says.

Chomanczuk suspected another client had a very bad toenail fungus. She explained her suspicions to the client with just enough graphic detail to convince her she needed to see a doctor. The woman went immediately to the doctor and reported back to Chomanczuk that it was a fungus.

Before you start searching the web, I want to make sure everyone understands the images and text on the links provided here are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission. You can link to these pages and images, but do not copy any of the information without proper permission.

I spent a lot of time looking for nail-related medical resources for nail techs on the web. A lot of the information I located originated from outside the United States. Here are a few places to help you get started. One quick resource can be found on the NAILS website. The Nail Doctor FAQ contains frequently asked health-related questions.

New Zealand Dermatological Society Inc.

This site, although meant for dermatologists, is by far the most comprehensive I came across on the net. But be warned — the images can be very graphic. Almost every example displayed is an extreme case — from hangnails to acute paronychia. If you cannot find a disease here, it probably does not exist.

Ingrown Toenails

From Dr. Philippe Abimelec, a French dermatologist, the text is in both English and French. Topics are limited to ingrown nails and fungal nail infections with several images.

Dermnet: The Dermatologists’ Image Resource

Here you’ll find nothing but images. This might be a good starting point if you are not sure what is wrong with your client. Once you find a possible match, you can proceed to one of the other links for more information.

Emedicine Consumer Medicine

There is a wealth of great consumer information on nail psoriasis here and you will find several images in the multimedia section of the different articles. This is a great site to link to from your own salon site. A quick search for “nails” will reward you with several well-written consumer articles.

I found an awesome page with information for children about why it is not a good idea to bite your nails. Published by, this is another powerful page to link to from your site.

The Mayo Clinic

This world-renowned medical facility offers several interesting articles. The links are long, so it is easiest to give you the link to the search page. Simply type “fingernails” in the search box and you will be rewarded with more than 30 articles to explore. The articles are in-depth, educational, and on the high end of consumeroriented material.


This is a graphic site that doesn’t have a tremendous amount of information, but it does contain definitions and pictures. To quote the “About” page, “Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia written collaboratively by contributors from around the world.” The site is a wiki, which means that anyone can edit articles, simply by clicking on the “edit this page” link. With that in mind, common sense should dictate the use of the material here.

Physician and Sports Medicine Online

If you have clients who are runners or other types of athletes, check out this site. It has some useful information and images on disorders that athletes are more prone to.


Prescription antifungal medications Sporanox and Lamisil both offer fairly comprehesive and easy-toread sites that discuss symptoms, causes, and treatment of nail fungus.




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