What Causes Ridges in Fingernails?

What Causes Ridges in Fingernails

If you have ever sat and studied your fingernails, you know they are made of all kinds of shapes and lines. Sometimes you may even notice there are ridges within the nail bed. Vertical ridges are most commonly found within nail beds, usually found going from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. They become more numerous and prominent with age, and they are usually nothing to worry about.

However, vertical nail ridges can be caused by nail injuries or certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. If the color of the nail also changes with the appearance of vertical ridges, it can also be a cause for concern. You should see your dermatologist or medical professional.

Horizontal Ridges

Should you begin to see horizontal ridges within your nail beds, you should seek medical attention, as these could indicate malnutrition issues or even malabsorption of vitamins and other nutrients in food. You can fight malnutrition or malabsorption issues by eating a healthier diet and supplementing with multivitamins or other minerals.

Eating gelatin will also help with the strength of your fingernails, and it will also have a healthy effect on your hair. However, if you are making these diet changes and including multivitamin and mineral supplements and you do not see any changes in your nails, you may have a strong disorder that interrupts the absorption of nutrients in the body. It is important that you seek medical attention.

Single instances of horizontal ridges could mean your body has been fighting off illness. However, recurrent horizontal ridges could indicate chronic diseases, such as GI, kidney, lung, or liver disease. If you see recurrent horizontal ridges, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Lack of Moisture

If your nails are ridged or cracked, massaging the nails and cuticles with moisturizing cream or oil will improve the condition of the nails. Of course, if you live in a hot climate or do manual labor, moisturizing will also help the condition of your skin. Drinking more water also helps keep your nails healthy, as well as your skin.

General Changes in Condition of Nails

Whether you are noticing more ridges within your nail beds or even a change in the color of the actual nail, you should likely seek medical attention, as any change may indicate respiratory or circulatory problems, uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, pneumonia, or even a zinc deficiency.


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