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Lateral Nail Folds

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The lateral nail folds or side walls, are the where the skin of the finger folds down along the side of the nail plate, providing protection as well as a groove to guide the growth of the nail. This seal along the edge of the nail stops invasion of unwanted substances or micro-organisms.

Ask the Experts

What are the common lateral nail fold problems?

Hangnails! Where little spikes of skin or the nail appear and catch on everything. These can be safely nipped off. DO NOT pull them as it damages the skin and this often leads to inflammation and infection.

What causes hard skin around the lateral nail fold?

It can be caused by general dryness, picking the skin or constantly using an implement like a pen. It is easily rectified by massaging in a good nail oil or hand cream to counteract the dryness and keep the skin moisturised and supple.

What’s the pain I’m feeling around the lateral nail fold?

This is usually due to an infection and inflammation, maybe from catching or pulling a hangnail or localised skin damage. Keep it clean and dry and apply antiseptic cream if necessary.

Can I remove hangnails?

Yes, you can, but it must be done carefully. Use a clean pair of nippers. Place the blades around the hangnail, squeeze and release. Never pull the hangnail as this can damage the skin.

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