What Do Nail Abnormalities Say About Your Health?


Your body gives you many signs when something is wrong. Some of these signs can be quite obvious, such as fevers, weakness, and cold, while others are far subtler and often go unnoticed. One of these signs is changes in the nails. Health nails tend to have a consistent colouring and are smooth throughout their surface. Nail abnormalities occur due to injury, infection or disease. In this article, we will learn more about the nail abnormalities types and what causes them.

What Do Nail Abnormalities Say About Your Health

What Do Nail Abnormalities Look Like?

Patients suffering from nail abnormalities can identify the same quite quickly. This is mainly because nail abnormalities symptoms are visual in nature. Some of the different types of changes that a patient can experience in the nails include the following:

  • Changes in the shape of the nail (this includes curling and clubbing)
  • Discolouration of the nails (this includes dark streaks, changes in the nail colour or white streaks)
  • Thickening or thinning of the nails
  • Brittle nails
  • Bleeding around the nails
  • Pitted nails
  • A nail separating from the finger or the skin
  • Pain around the nails
  • Redness or swelling around the nails

These can occur due to a host of reasons.

What are the Causes of Nail Abnormalities?

There are many different types of nail abnormalities causes that you should be aware of. They range from minor problems to serious concerns and the best way to treat them is to ensure you see a doctor as soon as you notice something is wrong. The following are the most common causes of nail abnormalities:

Beau’s Lines:

Beau’s lines is a condition that creates depressions that form across the nail. These are generally a sign of malnourishment. This condition can also be caused due to a range of diseases such as:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Measles, mumps or scarlet fever
  • Pneumonia
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Zinc deficiency


Clubbing is a condition in which the nails start to thicken and curve around the edges. The condition can take years to form and become visible. It can occur due to any of the following conditions:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • AIDS
  • Liver disease


Kolionychia has very distinct visual cues. When patients suffer from this condition, the nails scoop outwards and look like spoons. This is why the condition is also called spooning. Often, it is so severe that patients can even hold a drop of liquid in the spoons. This condition can occur due to many reasons like:

  • Heart disease
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lupus
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Raynaud’s disease


While patients suffer from leukonychia, they develop white spots on nails. More often than not, these occur due to a trauma and do not harm patients who are otherwise healthy. However, white spots on nails can also occur due to unhealthy life decisions and can result due to drug use or nutritional deficiencies.

Mees Lines:

In this condition, patients develop horizontal white lines that run across the nails. This condition generally points towards arsenic poisoning and doctors take tissue and blood samples to test for the same.


In this condition, the nail base separates from the bed. This leads to a distinct white discoloration on nails. Some of the causes that lead to this condition include:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Injury or trauma

Terry’s nails:

This condition leads to depressions that run across the nails. Often, it is caused due to old age. However, other health factors can also contribute to the development of this condition. Some of these are:

Yellow Nail Syndrome:

In this condition, the nails grow quite thick and do not grow quickly enough. They also turn very yellow. Sometimes, the nails can also separate from the nail bed. Some of the cause behind this condition include the following:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Internal malignancies
  • Respiratory illnesses, which include sinusitis and chronic bronchitis
  • Lymphedema
  • Pleural effusions

It is important to note that though these conditions can be caused by health problems, sometimes they occur due to injuries and other factors. Do not self-medicate – speak to your doctor about whether there even is a problem present for you to treat!

What are the Common Treatments for Nail Abnormalities?

Treatments for nail abnormalities generally depend on the underlying cause. In order to treat this condition, the condition that is causing it to occur must be treated first. So, in the case of diabetes and heart problems, treatments would include disease management for the former and medicines and lifestyle changes for the latter. Similarly, infections that lead to nail abnormalities are treated with the help of antibiotics.

Quick Tips to Take Care of Your Nails:

Tips to Take Care of Your Nails

You can practice self-care at home to ensure that your nails always look healthy and normal. Some of the things that you can do include the following:

  • Trim your nails after you’ve had a bath because they will be soft and easy to cut
  • Do not bite or tear at your nails
  • Get nail lotion that can help boost the overall strength of the nails
  • Get sharp manicure scissors are blunt ones can often contribute to visual damage to the nails
  • Take a break from nail polish occasionally and let your nails breathe.


Taking care of your nails only requires being vigilant about any issues, and going in for regular manicures to keep their growth under check. If you notice changes in your nails or any nail abnormalities, you should contact your general physician to get to the root of why the problem is occurring. This can help you get quick and effective treatment so that you do not have to suffer for very long. Treatments for nail abnormalities can range for days, to a lifetime of management, so it is always better to start as soon as possible!

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