Nail abnormalities are problems with the color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.
Beau's lines; Fingernail abnormalities; Spoon nails; Onycholysis; Leukonychia; Koilonychia; Brittle nails
Just like the skin, the fingernails tell a lot about your health.
- Beau's lines are depressions across the fingernail. These lines can occur after illness, injury to the nail, and when you are
- Brittle nails are often a normal result of aging. However, they also may be due to certain diseases and conditions.
- Koilonychia is an abnormal shape of the fingernail. The nail has raised ridges and is thin and curved inward. This disorder is associated with
iron deficiency anemia.
- Leukonychia is white streaks or spots on the nails.
- Pitting is the presence of small depressions on the nail surface. Sometimes the nail is also crumbling. The nail can become loose and sometimes falls off.
- Ridges are tiny, raised lines that develop across or up and down the nail.
- Crushing the base of the nail or the nail bed may cause a permanent deformity.
- Chronic picking or rubbing of the skin behind the nail can cause a washboard nail.
- Long-term exposure to moisture or nail polish can cause nails to peel and become brittle.
- Fungus or yeast cause changes in the color, texture, and shape of the nails.
- Bacterial infection may cause a change in nail color or painful areas of infection under the nail or in the surrounding skin. Severe infections may cause nail loss.
wartsmay cause a change in the shape of the nail or ingrown skin under the nail.
- Certain infections (especially of the heart valve) may cause red streaks in the nail bed (
- Disorders that affect the amount of oxygen in the blood (such as abnormal heart anatomy and lung diseases including cancer or infection) may cause
Kidney diseasecan cause a build-up of nitrogen waste products in the blood, which can damage nails.
Liver diseasecan damage nails.
- Thyroid diseases such as
hyperthyroidismor hypothyroidismmay cause brittle nails or splitting of the nail bed from the nail plate (onycholysis).
- Severe illness or surgery may cause horizontal depressions in the nails (Beau's lines).
Psoriasismay cause pitting, splitting of the nail plate from the nail bed, and chronic destruction of the nail plate (nail dystrophy).
- Other conditions that can affect the appearance of the nails include systemic
amyloidosis, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, and lichen planus.
- Skin cancers near the nail and fingertip can distort the nail. Subungal melanoma is a potentially deadly cancer that will normally appear as a dark streak down the length of the nail.
- Darkening of the cuticle associated with a pigmented streak may a sign of an aggressive melanoma.
Arsenic poisoningmay cause white lines and horizontal ridges.
- Silver intake can cause a blue nail.
- Certain antibiotics can cause lifting of the nail from the nail bed.
- Chemotherapy medicines can affect nail growth.
Normal aging affects the growth and development of the nails.
Review Date: 05/13/2011
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.Â Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.