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Green Nail Syndrome

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close up of the nails of a woman with fungal infections

Green Nail Syndrome is a prevalent condition persisting in the inhabitants of a warm and moist local climate. The toenails (at first) start showing a particular greenish or bluish-green discolouration from the standard translucent white. This slowly progresses into the darkening of the color if it remains untreated.

This is caused due to a bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Pseudomonas is a moisture loving species of bacteria. The toenails might accumulate an excess amount of humidity at times, leading to this bacterial infection.

The Pseudomonas bacteria form colonies in the nail bed in a short time. They release a peculiar green chemical that imparts the color to the nail. As these activities occur below the nail (on the nail bed), scratching your nails from the outside won’t help remove the color. The bacteria love moisture and hence can grow only in wet environments.

The infection can spread from the tips of the nail beds to the entire nail. Although these cases are reported as painful most of the time, if you feel any pain, make sure that you consult your dermatologist for an effective treatment plan.

Why is the Green Nail Syndrome Caused?


1. Factors supporting the growth of bacteria

A warm water bath or a long soak in the pool might be the main reasons for the development of this syndrome. The bacteria love to reproduce when it is exposed to warm moisture. The nail bed serves as the first line of defence against the bacteria. But, due to prolonged exposure to water, it gets a bit leaky. The bacteria start proliferating and reproducing at a higher rate as they do so.

The infections can be found in warm water sources, which are left stagnant for a while. Always make sure you swim in a regularly cleaned pool to avoid infections.

2. Exposure to Trauma

A traumatic experience to the toe generally exposes the nail bed. These lead to a higher chance of the bed being infected by the bacterium. Trauma can be caused due to excessive nail cutting, a haphazard manicure or a pedicure, stumbling over a solid object, etc. These cases are most common in children as they easily fall over.

3. Having a History of Diseases

Certain kidney diseases, cancers, tumours, and thyroid conditions may lead to the higher occurrence of pseudomonas infection. Though there hasn’t been found a suitable link to these diseases, a study has shown that individuals suffering from the above conditions are at a greater risk of developing the green nail syndrome.

4. Your Gene Sequence

Genes are handed down to you along the family tree by your parents. They play an essential role in the development of your immune system. Certain people are more sensitive and prone to developing the syndrome than others. There is nothing one can do to solve this scenario. The gene distribution is random throughout the population!

Do not panic if you see your nail turning green in the future; now you surely know that it isn’t you turning into SHREK!


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