Changes in Your Nails

Changes in Your Nails

Topic Overview

There are many reasons for changes in the shape and texture of the nails. Some changes, such as the minor pitting or the formation of ridges, occur with normal aging.

Other changes in the shape and texture of nails include the following:

  • Tube-shaped nails that curve inward (pincer nails) occur more often in toenails than fingernails and are caused by tight shoes. You may need to have the nail surgically removed or reconstructed if pain or infection is a problem. The nail may return to a normal shape if you begin to wear shoes that fit.
  • Spoon-shaped nails are more common in children and are usually temporary. They also occur with some diseases such as iron deficiency anemia. The nail will usually return to its normal appearance when the underlying disease is corrected.
  • Pitting. Minor pitting may be normal. Deep pitting, especially with yellow or thick nails or separation of the nail from the nail bed, can be caused by a skin disease, such as psoriasis or eczema.
  • Ridging may occur normally with aging but is also caused by injury, infection, or illness.
  • Thickened nails can be caused by a fungal infection, injury, or poor circulation. The nails may become thick, yellow, ridged, or brittle. The nail may loosen and fall off. A "ram's horn nail" is an unusually thickened nail that occurs with age.
  • Clubbing of the fingers is a condition in which ends of the fingers and toes swell and the nails bulge outward. The nails wrap around thickened fingers or toes, looking more raised, curved, and shiny than usual. This may occur normally but more often occurs in persons with chronic heart, lung, liver, or thyroid disease.

Related Information

Credits

Current as ofApril 17, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.