Ridges In Fingernails

Ridges On Fingernails: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Ridges on fingernails indicate some problem with your overall health. Stunned? Your fingernails can reveal more details about your health. Many times, your doctor may check the fingernails to detect your overall health. The ridges on the fingernails may indicate some health complications. It can vary from simple issues to life-threatening complications. Therefore, you need to pay close attention to the appearance of your fingernails. Understand the significance of having healthy nails. It goes beyond appearing stunning. Issues like stress or thyroid problems can influence the appearance of your fingernails. At times, the ridges on your nails may point towards some fatal health problems. The appearance of the ridges can vary. It can appear as vertical or horizontal. So, read ahead to gather as much information as possible about the issue. It will help you eliminate the harmless problem or seek immediate medical attention for serious issues. Therefore, it aids in taking the right action that will prevent the health problem from escalating.

What Are Ridges On Fingernails?

Ridges on fingernails What exactly does it mean that you have ridges on your fingernails? Your nails are like the window to the exact state of your health. Strong and healthy nails indicate you have no issues in your body. But, the spots or presence of ridges indicates the presence of underlying health problems. So, a healthcare professional can detect a lot by checking your nails. Ridges can run from the cuticle of the nail to the tip. Or you can see ridges running side to side of the nails. It indicates some issues that can vary from simple to serious. Depending on the appearance of the ridges on fingernails, your doctor can detect the severity of the issue. So, it is better to get medical advice to eliminate complicated issues. Depending on the problem, you need to get proper treatment. It will help eradicate the health problem and maintain your overall health.

Types Of Ridges On Fingernails

You can differentiate the type by the appearance of the ridges on fingernails. Based on it, you can classify it into two types. So, the different types are:

Vertical Ridges

Vertical Ridges

As the name suggests, the ridges can run in the vertical format. So, the furrows appear from the tip of your fingernail to that cuticle. The problem is also referred to as longitudinal bands or striations. In most of the cases, the problem causes no harm.

Horizontal Ridges

The appearance of the horizontal ridges on the nail surface may indicate a more serious issue. Often known as Beau’s lines, the horizontal ridges on fingernails can indicate a serious health issue. The problem can also stop the nail growth. Therefore, you need to take the medical assistance to clear the issue. Once the problem gets solved, you can see the nail growth.

Causes And Symptoms Associated With Ridges On Fingernails

Your fingernail consists of living skin cells. So, any health issues affecting the cells can result in the ridges on fingernails. The symptoms of the problem may vary with the underlying health problem. The causes may vary from simple skin disease, Vitamin efficiency to the serious health complication. You need to monitor the accompanying symptoms and consult a doctor. Some problems need immediate medical attention to avoid fatal complications. So, the main issues leading to the problem are:

Advancing Age

People in their old age can see furrows on the nails. It results in the vertical ridges on fingernails. The problem occurs due to the body’s slow cell turnover. In a young person, the new skin cells produced by the body takes its place of dead skin cells. Your body disposes the dead skin cells from the surface for the new cells. In old people, the process slows down. So, it results in vertical ridges.


It is a medical condition also referred to as 20-nail dystrophy. It can result in vertical ridges on your nails. You can also see other signs like:

  • Change in the nail color
  • Nails become brittle
  • Change in texture (nails may become brittle)

Skin Conditions

  • As your nails consist of skin cells, the problems with the skin can trigger the issue. So, several skin conditions can result in the development of fingernail ridges. The issues that lead to the problem are:
  • Skin dryness
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis

The problem can result in the discoloration of the nail. You can also see changes in the appearance of the nail bed. Consult a dermatologist when you see other issues on the skin. It is important to get a remedy for the skin problem before it escalates.

Health Problems

Some serious illness can result in the appearance of ridges on the fingernails. In most serious issues, you can see the horizontal ridges on the skin. So, the problems leading to the development of Beau’s lines are:


The cancer treatment can trigger several side-effects. The appearance of ridges can occur after undergoing chemotherapy. The treatment destroys the living cells along with the cancer cells. So, you can see changes in the nails. People undergoing treatment for different types of cancer can expect the problem. In most cases, it appears as horizontal ridges.

Vitamin Deficiency

If your body lacks sufficient nutrition, it can reflect on nail health. Therefore, any vitamin deficiency can result in the appearance of vertical ridges. You can also see changes in nail appearance. When you notice your nails having a spoon-shaped or concave shape, consult your doctor. It can indicate the deficiency of the following:

Digestive Disorders

Digestive Disorders

Problems in your digestive tract can trigger the issue. It is due to the lack of absorption of the essential nutrients. With problems in the digestive function, your body fails to get the necessary nutrients required. It results in the loss of ability to have good building blocks to develop new cells. So, your skin and nails can suffer. The issues that result in the inability of the body to absorb nutrition from the food you consume are:

  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis


The injury to the nails can result in bruising. So, your nails may change shape temporarily. It can also result in the formation of ridges. In most cases, the bruising can lead to the formation of reddish-brown spots. Any trauma, like dropping an object on your nails can result in the issue. It is not a serious problem. It can go away gradually over a period of time. So, you may not need medical assistance to rectify the issue. Once the cells heal, the nail grows out. Therefore, the ridges may also disappear.

Severity Of Ridges On Fingernails

It is always important to monitor the signs accompanying the issue. It helps you detect the seriousness of the problem. You need to consult your doctor immediately when you suspect something serious. But, depending on other signs, you can understand the severity of the problem.

Less Severe Issues

Some simple problems can result in the ridges on fingernails. The symptoms accompanying the low-risk problem are:

  • Skin infections
  • Discoloration or streaking of nails
  • Pus formation around the nails
  • Other fluid accumulation around the nails

You can check with the doctor to determine the severity of the issue. It will offer you peace of mind.

Serious Condition

The ridges on the fingernails can indicate a serious health problem when you suffer other signs. The following symptoms along with the nail appearance points towards more serious issues:

  • Confusion
  • Problems with breathing
  • Loss consciousness (even for a brief time)
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • The desire to drink fluids frequently

The above signs indicate a serious health problem that needs immediate medical attention. So, seek your doctor’s help to eradicate the problem. Else, you may have to face serious complications that may prove fatal.

Diagnosis Of Ridges On Fingernails

The sudden changes in the appearance of your fingernails need examination by the medical professionals. So, you need to make an appointment with your doctor to eliminate serious conditions. If you damaged the nail in an accident or injury, you can wait to see a doctor. Depending on the time taken for healing, you can consult your doctor if necessary. But, the ridges due to other problems need a diagnosis from the doctor. It is important to get the right treatment at a precise time to avoid complications. So, you need to see a doctor when you see other signs and symptoms along with the ridges on fingernails. The doctor can use the following diagnostic techniques to determine the root cause of the issue:

Physical Assessment

During the doctor’s appointment, your doctor can check the signs you observe in your body. It may include examining the nails properly. You also need to discuss your prior health conditions or disease you suffer. The doctor also takes details about the different problems you may experience. Depending on the physical assessment, your doctor can suggest other tests.

Urine Tests

Your doctor can order urine tests to detect the other health issues that lead to the problems with your nails. In most cases, the ridges on fingernails can indicate an acute kidney problem. Therefore, urine tests can reveal how your kidney functions. It can also detect health issues like diabetes with urine results.

Blood Tests

Nutritional deficiency can lead to the appearance of ridges on your nails. So, your doctor can suggest for the blood tests. The lab technician can take the blood sample and send it for testing. Apart from the vitamin and mineral deficiencies, the blood tests can also reveal other problems. Therefore, your doctor can detect the presence of other health issues like kidney disease and diabetes.



Certain skin conditions can also cause ridges on your nails. In such cases, you need to seek the help of a dermatologist. The dermatologist can detect the problem by examining your skin. If the examination does not reveal the actual causes, a skin biopsy can shed light on the actual causes. So, the lab technician can take the sample of your skin. It is tested for issues like psoriasis or cancer. In some cases, the doctors can take the fingernail clippings. It is analyzed in a lab to check for infections.

Ridges On Fingernails Treatment Plan

In older people, the ridges can appear on the nail. It is the most common sign of aging. Therefore, people above fifty years of age can see the development of slight vertical ridges. But, young people can also see the ridges on fingernails. It needs treatment depending on the issue. Your doctor needs to detect the root cause resulting in the issue. So, the treatment may include:

Controlling Diabetes

The high levels of sugar in your blood can trigger adverse effects on the body. It can lead to some serious complications. Uncontrolled diabetes can also result in horizontal ridges on fingernails. Therefore, your doctor can advise immediate treatment to manage diabetes. When your sugar levels come under control, the beau’s lines may reduce. So, you can doctor can prescribe medications like insulin to manage your diabetes.

Maintaining Kidney Health

Acute kidney problems can lead to the development of ridges on fingernails. If you suspect the issue, then get treatment immediately. Kidneys are vital organs in your body. So, any complication associated with it can lead to adverse effects. Getting appropriate treatment to overcome the issue can prevent further complication. Once you handle the problem, the ridges disappear itself.

Creams For Skin Condition

Different skin disorders need treatment. So, your doctor may suggest moisturizers or topical creams reduce the symptoms associated with the issue. The creams have anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it can help overcome the problem with ease.

Nutritional Supplement

Vitamin or mineral deficiency needs proper treatment. Your body needs the required minerals as well as vitamins to stay healthy. For minor deficiency, your doctor can suggest altering your diet. Including foods with the required minerals and vitamins can keep you fit. But, severe deficiency requires an additional supplement. Therefore, you can take the supplements orally to boost the vitamin and mineral levels.

Treatment For Digestive Problems

If your doctor detects the digestive problems as the underlying issue for the appearance of ridges, then get appropriate treatment. For simple cases, oral medication can provide relief. While severe digestive problems may require surgery. Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor can choose an ideal treatment plan to manage the disease.

Buffing The Nails

The ridges on fingernails can occur due to non-threatening reasons like injury or aging. In such cases, you can buff the nails. Using an emery board, you can smoothen the ridges on the nails. Always maintain caution while using the technique. Therefore, never press too hard as it may damage the nail. Before adopting the technique, get advice from your dermatologist. Rule out any serious health complication. Your dermatologist can offer you apt advice on the right method to treat your nail. So, you can maintain the health and appearance of your fingernails.

Preventing Ridges On Fingernails

Not every person develops the ridges on their fingernails. Therefore, you do not have a foolproof method of preventing it. Some people can develop it as they age. You have no specific technique to avoid it from appearing on your nails. But, you can ensure the health of the fingernails by consuming a healthy diet. A varied and healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can maintain your overall fitness. It can work towards offering your body the necessary fuel to keep it strong. So, it helps maintain healthy fingernails without any ridges.


Most of the times, the ridges on fingernails may cause your health with no serious problem. It may occur due to simple issues. Majority of the cases may heal by themselves without any medical intervention. The problem can occur commonly in people who have an advanced age. But, in some cases, the ridges indicate some serious health issue. Therefore, you need to pay close attention to your fingernails. You need to monitor the changes occurring with the appearance of your nail. When suspecting some changes with no apparent reason, get medical help. The ridges may point towards a serious medical problem. With the right help and care, you can eliminate the health complication and avoid fatal effects.

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