Several conditions look similar to nail fungus, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment, according to a presenter at the American Academy of Dermatology Summer Meeting in New York.

“Although nail fungus is the most common nail disorder that dermatologists treat, not every nail problem is caused by fungus, and there are several other conditions that may look similar, including nail psoriasis and nail trauma,” Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said in a news release. “If you treat something that’s not a fungus as a fungus, it may not help [the] problem; in fact, it could make the condition worse.”

However, if a fungal infection is left unchecked, symptoms could get worse and possible cause pain or interfere with daily activities, Lipner said.

Lipner’s presentation, “Onychomycosis: Tips for Improved Diagnosis and Treatment,” was part of the Hot Topics in Nail Disorders session.