They are sometimes called longitudinal striations or bands. Slight vertical ridges in fingernails often develop in older adults, possibly due to a slowing of cell turnover. This is when new skin cells produced below the surface of your skin rise up to take the place of dead cells that are discarded from the surface.
Our nails naturally develop slight vertical ridges as we age. However, severe and raised ridges can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B12 or keratin can result in fingernail ridges. Hormonal changes can also cause ridges to appear.
Wavy nails can be sign or symptom of transient conditions, environmental factors or of immune based diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lichen, metabolic disorders, malnutrition, or fungal diseases. They can also change with aging.
Nail clubbing is when a nail curves under at the tip of the finger. It could indicate heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, lung disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, or HIV/AIDS. Puffy redness near the cuticle can indicate inflammation, a bacteria or yeast infection, Lupus, or other connective tissue disease.
The nails change with aging, growing more slowly, and becoming dull and brittle. The color may change from translucent to yellowed and opaque. Nails, especially toenails, may become hard and thick and ingrown toenails may be more common. The tips of the fingernails may fragment.
Dents and pitting are associated with many conditions, including psoriasis (an autoimmune skin disease) and thyroid problems. But nail abnormalities also can be caused by a simple contact dermatitis or vitamin deficiencies. Your best bet is to wiggle those fingers under a dermatologist’s nose for an accurate diagnosis.
The indentations can appear when growth at the area under the cuticle is interrupted by injury or severe illness. Conditions associated with Beau’s lines include uncontrolled diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, as well as illnesses associated with a high fever, such as scarlet fever, measles, mumps and pneumonia.
Weak nails are most likely associated with a deficiency in B vitamins, calcium, iron, or fatty acids. Norris explains that it’s best not to take iron as a supplement unless you know you’re deficient. Instead, start taking a multivitamin that includes calcium and B vitamins.
If your nail pitting develops because of an underlying health condition, the severity will vary. In most cases, nail pitting isn’t serious and is just a source of cosmetic distress. Severe cases, however, can lead to discomfort and pain that can affect the way you walk and use your hands.
Kidney disease can affect the appearance of your fingernails, toenails, or both. People who have advanced kidney disease can develop: A white color on the upper part of one or more nails and a normal to reddish brown color below, as shown here (half-and-half nails) Pale nails.
If the nails are mostly white with darker rims, this can indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis. In this image, you can see the fingers are also jaundiced, another sign of liver trouble.
Thyroid dysfunction can also affect your nails, causing abnormality in nail shape, nail color, or attachment to the nail bed. Pay attention if you experience ongoing hangnails, ridges in your nails, splitting, peeling, or even dry cuticles.
One of the most common causes of yellow toenails in an infection by a fungus that attacks the nails. This is called onychomycosis, and it happens more in adults than children. It can lead the nail to turn yellow, have yellow spots, white patches, or even turn black.
In our experience, a majority of cases of trachyonychia referred to the nail clinic are idiopathic. However, trachyonychia has been associated with a number of dermatologic and nondermatologic diseases, and the most frequent associations are with alopecia areata/universalis, psoriasis, and lichen planus (table 2a, b).
Ridges in the fingernails are often normal signs of aging. Slight vertical ridges commonly develop in older adults. In some cases, they may be a sign of health problems like vitamin deficiencies or diabetes. Deep horizontal ridges, called Beau’s lines, may indicate a serious condition.