Generally, arthritis is thought of as an achy-joint disorder that affects the elderly. There is a type of arthritis like that. It's called osteoarthritis, and it is very common. However, there are actually more than 100 diseases that qualify as types of arthritis [source: Arthritis Foundation]. The following conditions in the arthritis family can sometimes lead to nail changes:
- Osteoarthritis: Weak nails caused by selenium deficiency are often observed in people with this most widespread form of arthritis [source: Arthritis Foundation].
- Psoriasis: Yellow nails, rippled nails (when the surface of the nail has a pitted or rippled look) and splinter hemorrhages all can be signs of psoriatic arthritis [sources: WebMD; Gregoriou, et al].
- Lupus: Puffy nail fold, a symptom when the skin around the base of the nail swells, is often seen in connective tissue disorders like lupus [source: WebMD].
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Red lunula (the lunula is the crescent shape in the nail bed) in rheumatoid arthritis is often due to prednisone treatments for the disease [source: Gregoriou, et al].
- Kawasaki disease: This disorder can lead to onychomadesis, the shedding of nails [source: Gregoriou et. al].
On the next page, we'll cover nail changes that have nothing to do with disease.