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Ridged Fingernails

Ridged Fingernails

Deficiency in nutrients such as vitamins and proteins is the primary contributory factor that causes ridges in fingernails.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did You Know?
Following a healthy diet is the key to eliminate and prevent ridges in fingernails.

Ridges in fingernails are bumpy, elevated lines that may be either vertical or horizontal. The vertical ridges are seen running from the base of the nail bed to the tip of the nail. On the other hand, horizontal ridges travel from side to side (from left to right across the nail). When the fingernails do not appear normal due to ridges, it certainly indicates that the food we should have daily is being eaten sparingly. It is discussed below:
Why Do Vertical Ridges Occur
Fingernail ridges are painless and often vertical ridges are regarded as a genetic attribute. Other causes are given below:
Poor Diet: A person following a diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, is likely to suffer from ridged fingernails. In other words, ridged fingernails indicate that the body is not getting its daily dosage of vitamins. Vitamins A, B, iron or protein deficiency can trigger nail ridging. Studies have also shown that vitamin deficiencies produce nail abnormalities in the form of ridges in fingernails. Presence of large vertical ridges indicate an acute deficiency in calcium or proteins.
Poor Nutrient Absorption: Many times, ridged fingernails is the result of body's inability to properly absorb nutrients from food. In such cases, consultation with a doctor, is necessary to find out the cause of poor absorption.
Loss of Moisture: With age, the nail plate loses its moisture and natural oils, which often manifests in the form of ridged fingernails. Aging process always has a negative impact on nails. No wonder, we often find old people with ridged or cracked fingernails.
Why Do Horizontal Ridges Occur
Although vertical ridges in fingernails is normally an age-related problem, occurrence of horizontal ridges cannot be overlooked and doctors consider it as a symptom of serious illness. People with horizontal ridges in fingernails, also experience a change in nail color, which is an indication of respiratory diseases, diabetes, kidney disorders or heart problems. People who have suffered from arsenic poisoning may also develop horizontal ridges in fingernails.
Beau's Lines
  • Beau's lines are variations of horizontal ridges in fingernails. Unlike vertical ridges that appear peripherally over the nail, beau's lines are unpleasant deep groves that seem to be embedded in the nail plate.
  • Sometimes, there is just one beau's line, making a half-moon in the nail plate. A trauma such as a hammer striking the nail or an injury when trimming the nails may cause the formation of Beau's lines.
  • Use of chemotherapy drugs, beta blockers and skin ailments like psoriasis are some of the risk factors for Beau's lines. Medical conditions such as hypocalcemia, coronary occlusion and even Raynaud's disease may also cause Beau's lines.
  • At high altitudes, the production of the nail cells may take a backseat, which can also lead to the development of Beau's lines. These lines have also been reportedly linked to heart attack and malaria.
  • A person who has recently recovered from a severe illness may also show Beau's lines.
How to Get Rid of Ridges
In order to get rid of these unwanted changes in the fingernails, an easy way is to start having a nutritious diet. Ask any doctor about healthy fingernails and he would recommend a nutritious food intake. Ensure that the diet is rich in vitamins and iron to keep ridges on nails at bay.
In case, lack of moisture is the primary cause behind ridged fingernails, one can apply moisturizing creams daily or oil such as olive or evening primrose oil to make fingernails free from ridges. Dehydration is also responsible for causing ridged fingernails. So, drinking plenty of water daily can also help to resolve this issue associated with fingernails.
Even a nail injury or a fungal infection can trigger the formation of ridged fingernails. For instance, an injury that damages the nail bed, may produce ridged fingernails that may remain for quite some time. High blood pressure that is common during pregnancy, can also cause ridges in fingernails. So, diagnosing the cause correctly and then following the recommended treatment, is the right approach to eliminate this nail problems.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.