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Alternative namesBeau's lines; Fingernail abnormalities; Spoon nails; Onycholysis; Leukonychia; Koilonychia
DefinitionNail abnormalities refer to abnormal color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.
ConsiderationsJust like the skin, the fingernails are a telling reflection of a person's state of health.
Pitting (the presence of small depressions on the nail surface) is often accompanied with crumbling of the nail. Detachment of the nail can also occur. (The nail becomes loose and sometimes even comes off.)
Ridges (linear elevations) can develop along the nail occurring in a "lengthwise" or "crosswise" direction.
Beau's lines are linear depressions that occur "crosswise" (transverse) in the fingernail. They can occur after illness, trauma to the nail, and with malnutrition.
Leukonychia describes white streaks or spots on the nails.
Koilonychia is an abnormal shape of the fingernail where the nail has raised ridges and is thin and concave. This disorder is associated with iron deficiency anemia .
Home CareFor nail abnormalities due to nail biting, picking, and tearing, stop these behaviors. Get psychological help (in extreme cases) or encouragement to stop as needed. Keep hangnails clipped.
For nail abnormalities due to ingrown toenails, wear shoes that don't squeeze the toes together, and always cut the nails straight across along the top.
For pale nails, clubbed nails, blue nails, distorted nails, white lines and horizontal ridges, or white hue under the nails, consult your health care provider to determine the proper way to treat the underlying cause of the problem.
For splinter hemorrhages , see the doctor immediately!
For brittle nails, keep the nails short and avoid nail polish. Use an emollient (skin softening) cream after washing or bathing.
Call your health care provider ifIf nail abnormalities are unexplained, associated with other symptoms, or persist, call your health care provider.
The medical history will be obtained, and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting your symptom in detail may include:
Update Date: 8/15/2003Michael Lehrer, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT