Red, Itchy Bumps Under My Fingernail - What Is It?

Published: September 08, 2014
Dear Red, Itchy Bumps Under My Fingernail - What Is It?,

I have this really odd fingernail problem. I have a constant itch in the same finger on each hand and sometimes it is a random itch but it can also be cause by high pulse in fingers. As a result I have to constantly bite them and pick the skin underneath the nail to stop the itch until the nail and skin grow back. My nails haven't got fungus or anything but there is a little bit of a little red bump just below the fingernail. Any Idea what it might be?

Dear Red, Itchy Bumps Under My Fingernail - What Is It?,

Based on your description of this nail problem, it appears that you may have a common wart of the skin called a periungal wart. These types of warts are caused by a virus that can get into your skin through cuts and abrasions. They usually appear around or under toenails and finger nails. The warts can occur alone or in clusters and they can take a variety of appearances such as being flat, rough, or dome shaped. They can vary in color from dark red/brown to normal skin color. Individuals who are highly susceptible are those who pick in and around their nails and/or who are nail biters. Some symptoms that you may encounter with this type of wart include: itchiness in around affected site and tenderness to surrounding skin/cuticle (especially if secondary bacterial infection presents). 

Given that TeenHealthFX cannot give you a definitive diagnosis over the internet, we recommend that you meet with your doctor so you can find out what the issue is and so you can get treatment recommendations from him/her. If it is a periungal wart, your doctor may recommend that you use an over-the-counter (OTC) wart remover to be applied to the affected area (red bump) to see if that helps with your symptoms.

In the meantime until you meet with your doctor, be sure to wash your hands frequently and try not to bite or pick your skin or nail on the affected finger(s).

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network primary care physicians, dermatologists or adolescent medicine specialists.