Your fingernails and toenails are indicative of your overall health. Some variation in the form, shape or appearance of your nails can be attributed to your age or harmless lifestyle factors. Other changes in your nails could be signals that you are suffering from chronic or possibly fatal health problems.
Vertical Toenail Ridges
Examine your nails for patterns in the ridging. Do the ridges on your toenails move vertically or horizontally? If the ridges are vertical, your nails likely appear that way because of heredity. These ridges may grow more prominent as you age, but they are usually not a sign of health problems.
Horizontal Toenail Ridges
Horizontal ridging in the toenail is likely not an issue of heredity, but a warning of a health problem. These ridges could be indicative of malnutrition, an impending heart attack or respiratory disease. You should seek medical assistance immediately and share any other symptoms of problems that you may be having with your doctor.
Similar to horizontal ridging in the toenail, Beau's Lines refers to deeper horizontal depressions on the nails. Malnutrition can also play a role in Beau's Lines, but they are also caused by illnesses characterized by high fevers, untreated diabetes and circulatory problems.
Koilonychia and Brittle Nails
Koilonychia is a condition characterized by thin, vertical ridging in thinned, concave nails. This is usually a sign of iron deficiency, although Koilonychia can also be caused by frequent exposure to chemicals like nail polish or an injury to the nailbed. Brittle nails can cause splitting or ridging in the nails. Increase your intake of Vitamins D and B, as well as calcium, to promote better nail health.
Improving Health and Removing Lines
When you seek treatment for the underlying health problem that has caused ridges in your toenails, the ridges should disappear. Take note of any other changes in your nails in the future, such as discoloration, nail shape or nails separating from the nail bed. Following American nutrition guidelines, seeking at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity a few times per week and managing your chronic health problems should prevent future toenail problems. If ridging persists, talk to your doctor again.
- Mayo Clinic: Slide show: Fingernails - 7 signs of possible health problems
- WebMD: What your nails say about your health
- Mayo Clinic: What causes vertical ridges in fingernails?
- Hooked on Nails: Nail Diseases and Disorders
- The Beauty Tips: Koilonychia Treatment and Prevention tips to get rid of it
- Home Remedies: Nails vitamin Deficiency
- Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
What Causes Horizontal Ridges in Fingernails?
The appearance of fingernails can tell a doctor many things about a person's health, from a simple vitamin deficiency to something more...
What Do Fingernails Tell About Your Health?
When you're feeling unwell, you might check your health by using a thermometer or a blood pressure machine. Perhaps you can tell...
What Causes Yellow Toenails?
Do you dread having a pedicure because you know that underneath that sultry shade of red that you're sporting on your tootsies...
What Do White Spots on Fingernails Mean?
Healthy fingernails are clear and free of discoloration and deformity of shape. The presence of abnormalities, such as white spots, indicates special...
How to Avoid Ridges in Nails
If you have fingernails or toenails with ridges or wrinkles, have no fear, there are many things you can do improve the...
How to Buff Toenails in a Pedicure
Buffing the toenails is a very important part of a pedicure. In addition to helping you get rid of dry and dead...
How to Decrease Nail Ridges
While horizontal indentations in fingernails can be a sign of underlying illness and should be examined by a doctor, vertical ridges are...
Ridge Lines in Thumb Nails
You can develop either horizontal or vertical ridges in your nails. Vertical ridges are common and aren’t generally a sign of an...
What Are Ridges on a Nail?
According to Hippocrates, your fingernails reveal your health and inner condition. Doctors have since found that fingernails can show a lack of...
What Are Longitudinal Ridges?
Your fingernails can reveal a great deal about your health. These important protectors of the end of your fingertips can develop what...
Reasons Why Toenails Can Thicken
Thick toenails are often discolored and unattractive. Being difficult to trim, they can grow long and become uncomfortable, or can lead to...
How to Get Rid of Ridges in Nails
Get rid of nail ridges by smoothing out the nail first and then using a four or three way buffer. Use the...