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Nail abnormalities

Beau lines; Fingernail abnormalities; Spoon nails; Onycholysis; Leukonychia; Koilonychia; Brittle nails

Nail abnormalities are problems with the color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.

Images

Nail infection - candidal
Koilonychia
Onycholysis
White nail syndrome
Yellow nail syndrome
Half and half nails
Yellow nails
Brittle nails

I Would Like to Learn About:

Considerations

Like the skin, the fingernails tell a lot about your health:

Causes

Injury:

Infection:

Diseases:

Poisons:

Medicines:

Normal aging affects the growth and development of the nails.

Home Care

To prevent nail problems:

Bring your own manicure tools to nail salons and DO NOT allow the manicurist to work on your cuticles.

Using the vitamin biotin in high doses (5,000 micrograms daily) and clear nail polish that contains protein can help strengthen your nails. Ask your provider about medicines that help with abnormal-appearing nails. If you have a nail infection, you may be prescribed antifungal or antibacterial drugs.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have:

If you have splinter hemorrhages or Hutchinson sign, see the provider immediately.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The provider will look at your nails and ask about your symptoms. Questions may include whether you injured your nail, if your nails are constantly exposed to moisture, or whether you are always picking at your nails.

Tests that may be ordered include x-rays, blood tests, or examination of parts of the nail or the nail matrix in the laboratory.

Related Information

Iron deficiency anemia

References

American Academy of Dermatology website. 12 nail changes a dermatologist should examine. www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/nail-care/nail-changes-a-dermatologist-should-examine. Accessed May 2, 2019.

Andre J, Sass U, Theunis A. Diseases of the nails. In: Calonje E, Brenn T, Lazar AJ, Billings SD, eds. McKee's Pathology of the Skin with Clinical Correlations. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 23.

Tosti A. Diseases of hair and nails. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 442.

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Review Date: 4/16/2019  

Reviewed By: Michael Lehrer, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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