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Could Your Nail Shape be a Sign of Nail Abnormalities?

When you think about dermatology, you’re probably not considering fingernails. But the truth is your nail shape could actually tell your dermatologist something about whether or not you’re suffering from nail disorders. Here’s what you need to know.


Rippled Nails

Vertical ridges in fingernails, or ripples, can be an early sign of several different issues. If you see ripples or ridges developing in fingernails that were otherwise smooth, it could be an early warning sign of an issue like nail psoriasis, eczema, or even inflammatory arthritis. Nail ripples could also be an indicator that you’re not receiving enough vital vitamins and minerals in your diet. In many cases, it could mean you’re deficient in calcium, zinc, iron, or vitamin A. That being said, it’s difficult to determine that any single one of these things is the underlying cause of your nail abnormalities. If you notice this type of change in your fingernails, it’s important to see a dermatologist to determine the root cause.

Discolored or Thickened Nails

If you notice a change in the color or thickness of your nails, it’s a sure sign of a nail abnormality. In most cases, nails that are yellowing or thickening can be a sign of nail fungus. Nail fungus, while fairly common, still isn’t good. In most instances, a topical or over-the-counter treatment won’t cure the root cause of the issue. That’s why it’s so important to visit your dermatologist if you notice changes like this in your nails. Nail thickening can be uncomfortable as well as unsightly. A prescription medication will help cure the fungal infection and get your nails back to normal.

Nail Pitting

Nail pitting, as the name suggests, involves tiny pits and holes forming in your nails. These depressions may look like little pin-pricks or even little cracks in your nails. Nail pitting, especially if it’s occurring for the first time on your nails, is definitely cause to go see a dermatologist. Nail pitting is a common early warning sign of nail psoriasis. If you’ve previously been diagnosed with psoriasis, you may already know to be on the lookout for this symptom. But if you have no known conditions, nail pitting is cause to see your dermatologist right away.

Ram’s Horn Nails

Ram’s horn nails, also known as Onychogryphosis, is a condition in which nails begin to thicken and grow at a much faster rate than they normally would. Growth at this rate often causes the nail to curve and curl around the finger in a way that makes it look like a ram’s horn. This condition can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, including psoriasis and poor circulation. With help from your dermatologist, this condition can be managed and the underlying issue can be treated. The key is understanding how important it is to visit your dermatologist as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Nail abnormalities aren’t really that abnormal. In fact, they’re quite common! The key is knowing when to see a dermatologist about them. If you have questions about your nails or you’re seeking treatment for a known nail issue, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a member of our team at North Pacific Dermatology today.

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