Ridges in Fingernails, Horizontal, Vertical, Pictures, Causes, Beau’s, Lines, Treatment & Home Remedies

Ridges in on fingernails or on fingers is a common nail problem. The ridges appear like white or black grooves on the toenails and can be vertical or horizontal. Apparently, Beau’s, lines are the common causes of horizontal ridges or lines on fingernails. Explore the signs and symptoms, causes and diagnosis of fingernail ridges and how to get rid of them using various treatments and home remedies. In addition, we have inserted excellent picture of fingernail with ridges.

Signs and Symptoms of Ridges in Fingernails

Your fingernails are a good indicator that shows a state condition of your health status. Body stress and other underlying diseases like kidney infection and thyroid disease can be revealed by the kind of ridges that appear in your fingernails.

Ridges in Fingernails
Ridges in Fingernails

Signs and symptoms of having ridges in fingernails include the following:

  • Horizontal ridges on fingernails
  • Vertical ridges on nails.
  • Raised small ridges on fingernails.
  • Small cut like dents on fingernails.
  • Shallow cuts grooves on nails.
  • Curled nails.
  • White spots and lines on nails.
  • Discolorations of nails either dark or black
  • Nail plate separating from its bed.
  • Concave or spoon-like shaped fingernails.

What causes Ridges in Fingernails?

Vertical and horizontal ridges can appear on your fingernails as an ordinary condition that might not bother you so much. It is important to know the cause of your ridged fingernails because it might be as a result of a serious health problem that needs a medical diagnosis. Here are some of the factors that can cause ridges in fingernails:

1. Nutrients deficiency

Deficiency of certain nutrients in the body as a result of malnutrition can result in various nail problems like yellow and dark ridges in fingernails. Mineral salts, protein and vitamin not only keep your body fit but also help to maintain the good shape and smooth texture of your fingernails.

Generally, taking a diet that is rich in vitamins can help your body to escape many health problems including lines in your fingernails. Vitamin B complex in the diet can help to maintain good health. Vitamin B-12 is important in keeping your nail strong and free from horizontal and vertical lines.

Deficiency of certain nutrients in the body can lead to ridges in fingernails
Deficiency of certain nutrients in the body can lead to ridges in fingernails

Lack of mineral salts in the body system can lead to a serious health problem that causes ridges on fingernails. Deficiency of iron, zinc, and calcium can result in white or yellow spots on fingernails.  Lines and grooves on fingernails can also result from protein deficiency.

To reduce the problems of having discoloration of fingernails, you need to take a balance diet food that has adequate nutritional values as required by your body system. Eat vegetable, fruits and mineral supplements to keep away ridges on your nails.

2. Skin dryness and body dehydration

Dry skin and body dehydration can result to ridges in fingernails. Insufficient moisture is caused by dry weather conditions due to hot temperature. The effect of dry weather conditions makes cuticle on the nail to dry and crack or split resulting in the formation of fold like ridges on fingernails.

White and yellow lines in the fingernails can be caused by inadequate moisture on the nails cuticle. People living in the arid and semiarid area are more susceptible to the development of ridges on fingernails.

Body dehydration can also result to dry skin and splitting of nail cuticle that can lead to white spots and ridges on fingernails. Taking a lot of fluids during hot and dry weather conditions can help to keep your fingernails safe. Alternatively, you can apply moisturizers and body creams to your fingernails to protect the cuticle from becoming dry.

3. Aging

Aging process can also cause ridges in fingernails. Small lines and vertical ridges on fingernails can be caused by the process of maturing and becoming older. These means as you get older, the small ridges on the nail also increases slowly and become more prominent at old age.

The scientific description about the correlation of aging process and development of ridged fingernails is that there is a decline in the secretion of oil around nail cuticle that results to drying and breaking of the cuticle in the advanced age.

4. Underlying conditions and other infections.

Lines and ridges in fingernails can be caused by underlying conditions in the body. Your nails can help to show the presence of a serious health condition. Kidney infection and heart disease can cause your fingernails to develop problems.

Other infections and disorder can also cause Beau’s lines on a fingernail. Psoriasis and eczema may also be the cause of ridges on fingernails. It is advisable to visit your doctor as soon as you observe some strange symptoms on your fingernails.

Vertical Ridges in Fingernails

Vertical ridges on the fingernails are tiny raised lines or cuts like groove that runs along the nail from top to the bottom of the nail plate. A series of vertical ridges on fingernails are also called longitudinal striations or longitudinal bands. Vertical ridges can be dark or white in color but in most cases, they appear to be dark.

Dark vertical lines on the nail can develop as a result of aging. The process of maturing and getting older can result to vertical ridged in fingernails that come as a result of cell turnover in the nails. These happen during cell replacement under your skin to occupy space of dead cells that shade off slowly on the surface of the skin.

Vertical ridges in fingernails
Vertical ridges in fingernail

Apart from aging, vertical ridges in fingernails can also be caused by an injury or a trauma. Some underlying health conditions can also be the factor for ridged fingernails.

Generally, vertical lines on your nails are usually harmless and a common condition to people with advanced age. No need to worry more about vertical ridges in fingernails.

However, vertical ridges in fingernails might change their color and turn to dark rough surface that makes your nails brittle. This can be a symptom of nail dystrophy that can lead to permanent damage of the texture and shape of fingernails into spoon like shape.

Vertical ridges that are associated with brittle nails that can easily break are linked to a medical condition termed as onychorrhexis. There is no specific cause of this condition although having an old age can be the cause.

Horizontal Ridges in Fingernails

In comparison with longitudinal ridges, horizontal ridges on fingernails are deep groves that lie across the nail plate. Keep in mind that longitudinal ridge lies along the nail plate from top to bottom.

Horizontal ridges in fingernails
Horizontal ridges in fingernails

If your nail develops horizontal ridges or grooves like lines that cut across and appears to be dark in color, it is advisable to visit a recommended health center for check-ups. This symptom might be caused by serious health problems like heart diseases and kidney infections.

Horizontal ridges on your nails can develop due to various disorders or any related underlying health conditions. Some of the common disorders that can encourage ridges on fingernails include asthma, thyroid disease, syphilis, autoimmune diseases, accumulated toxin in the body and chronic infection like cancer.

Your nails can develop different horizontal lines according to the kind of infections and disorders in the body system. The following are types of ridges in fingernails that may likely appear on your fingernails: Beau’s lines and Muehrcke’s lines.

Beau’s lines

They are deep grooves that cut across the nail. Beau’s lines can be either dark or white in color and normally occur on or under the surface of the nail plate. These lines are always horizontal and you should not be confused by vertical lines that run from bottom of the nail cuticle to tip. Your nails can develop Beau’s lines due to several reasons:

Firstly, an injury on the nail can cause Beau’s lines. This happens when there is a physical damage to the fingernails that affects nail matrix. An injury on fingernail can lead to cell damage of the affected are hence there is a temporary cessation of cell growth and multiplication leading to Beau’s lines.

Deep horizontal grooves in fingernails are know as Beau’s lines
Deep horizontal grooves in fingernails are known as Beau’s lines

In addition to that, Beau’s lines can be caused by internal body infections like kidney infections, cancer, heart diseases, skin infections and respiratory diseases. Other factors like nutrients deficiency as in the case of hypocalcemia can cause this lines. Chemotherapy drugs can also lead to ridges in fingernails.

Muehrcke’s lines or leukonychia striate

These are white lines that lie across the nail plate and spreads to the whole plate from lunula of the nail. In comparison with Beau’s line, they are not like ridges but appear to be underneath lines in the bed of the nail plate.

Ridges in fingernails: Muehrcke’s lines
Ridges in fingernails: Muehrcke’s lines

The presence of these lines under the nails is signs of metabolic stress that result from chemotherapy used or hypoalbuminemia states like kidney disorders.

Mees lines

These are tiny white ridges in fingernails that cut on the nail plate horizontally.  Tiny white ridges are not continuous in nail plate but appear as broken lines.

Ridges in fingernails: mees lines
Ridges in fingernails: mees lines

Mees lines can be a sign of arsenic poisoning or another harmful toxin like carbon monoxide, heavy metal poison, and cardiac problems.

Ridges in Thumbnails

Your thumbnails can develop either a vertical or horizontal ridges. Vertical ridges on thumbnail are common due to the aging process and they are usually less hurting as long as your body does not have any other health problem.

Vertical ridges in thumbnails
Vertical ridges in thumbnails

Moreover, horizontal ridges can be a common problem with your thumbnails and you should not ignore these because it can be as an effect of having a health problem that needs to be diagnosed. Liver diseases and kidney infection usually cause ridges not only on the thumbnails but also on the twenty nails.

Beau’s line can affect your thumbnail and make it less attractive. Having a Beau” lines or grooves on a single thumbnail can be a minor health problem that might have resulted from a physical damage of the nail matrix that interfered with the normal growth of the cells.

For the case of having dark rides on all thumbnail and the have common symptoms that also appear on other nails, is advisable to make medical consultation with your doctor. Your doctor can help you get the right treatment for these ridges in fingernails.

Black or Dark Lines in Fingernail

Despite having ridges on fingernails, black or dark lines can also develop in your fingernails. Black or red lines that cut a long your fingernails are not always a sign of a serious health problem. They can be as a result of a physical damage on nail matrix or due to malnutrition and might be harmless. However, they might be a symptom of cancer.

Black ridges in fingernails - thumb
Black ridges in fingernails: thumb

Melanoma is a type of cancer that causes back or dark lines to appear in fingernails and the condition is known as longitudinal melanonychia. The condition develops from overproduction of melanocytes under the skin. Melanocytes are a cell that produces skin pediment called melanin.

Black spots or lines on nails are termed as nail moles and the resemble moles that develop on another surface of the skin. Nail moles are not a serious health condition because they are not harmful cancerous though medical attention is very important.

Young adults are more prone to nail moles but less susceptible to ridges on fingernails. Adults can also develop melanoma that causes black lines in nails or dark ridges in fingernails.

Apart from being caused by melanoma, black lines can be as a result of aging, deficiency of nutrients, arthritis and cardiac problems. When having dark lines in your fingernails it is advisable to go for medical checkups for diagnosis.

Red lines on fingernails can be a sign of heart infection that lead internal bleeding, a condition known as splinter hemorrhages. Heat infection and disorders can cause blood capillaries to burst and cause red lines and ridges in fingernails.

White Ridges in Fingernails

White ridges in fingernails are a common condition to many people and they are usually less hurting.  A white line on one or two fingernails is not a serious health problem. It can be caused by a physical damage.

White ridges in fingernails
White ridges in fingernails

But if they appear on all your fingernails and they do not disappear as your nails grow, this might be an internal infection in the body system.  Medical checkups and treatment is the best option you can take.

White ridges on fingernails can be described by their causes and their appearance as follows:

  • Mees lines. They are tiny white ridges on fingernails that lay horizontally the nail plate. Mees lines usually move with the growth of the fingernails. They are caused by arsenic poison or lead poison.
  • Random white lines. These are white non-continuous ridges on fingernails. They can develop from nail trauma or injuries. Fungal infection can also cause the development of these lines.
  • Lengthwise white ridges. These lines run along the length of the nail plate from base to tip of the fingernail. These lines are not common but they can develop after your nails get an injury.
  • Muehrcke’s lines are horizontal white ridges on the fingernails. The lines appear to be parallel to each other. These white lines can be caused by nutrient deficiency, liver and kidney infections.

Treatment for Ridges in Fingernail

Developments of different ridges on fingernails are usually signs and symptoms of having an underlying health problem. Treatments of ridged fingernails are based on the underlying conditions in the body. For instance, kidney and liver infections are the causes of ridges on finger nails, your doctor should focus on this condition that affects your nail indirectly.

Your doctor might examine you and carry out several sample tests from different parts of your body to analyze the causes of ridges. Some of the tests that might be done on you include blood test, urine test, sugar level test, blood pressure test, and tissue biopsy.

Your doctor will decide the type of treatments for the underlying diseases in your body that cause ridges on fingernails. He or she will also prescribe you medication that can help you in the treatment of the underlying conditions.

Your doctor can also give topical treatment for any skin conditions like eczema that might cause ridges on fingernails. If the ridges are as a result of cancer, your doctor will decide the appropriate therapy for the condition.

After the treatment of an underlying condition in your body, the ridge on your fingernails will disappear slowly by time to normal condition.

Home Remedies for Ridges in Fingernail

Do you have fingernail problems? Try the following home remedies to get rid of ridges on fingernails:

  1. Moisturizing

Moisturizing your skin and nail cuticle is the best home remedy to remove vertical or horizontal ridges on fingernails. Keep your skin and nail cuticle moisturized by using nail moisturizers oils and creams.

Wear hand gloves after the application of moisturizing cream on your nails. Take a lot of fluids and clean water to prevent dehydration of the body that can cause ridges on fingers.

  1. Balanced diet

Proper nutrition can help to remove both vertical and horizontal ridges on your fingernails. Take a balanced diet that has protein, vitamin and mineral salts. Eat meat that has protein for the formation of keratin in the nail cuticle.

You can take plenty of fruits and vegetable to provide vitamin and mineral salts. Iron and zinc are important to keep your nails smooth. Sometimes you can take a mineral supplement to keep your body healthy and remove ridges in fingernails.

  1. Lemon juice

You can use lemon juice to remove ridges on fingernails. Lemon juice has citric acid that can help to remove deep grooves on the nail plate.

Lemon fruits
lemon fruits

How to use:

  • Get lemon juice and mix with small amount of iodine solution.
  • Apply the mixture on the affected nails with lines and dents.
  • Repeat the treatment three times per day until your nails get
  1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has antifungal properties that can help to remove the fungal infection that can cause lines in fingernails. Apply tea tree oil directly on the affected nails daily until your fingernails get a normal color and texture.

When to See a Doctor over Fingernail Ridges

It is advisable to see a doctor over the fingernails when you develop the following conditions:

  • When there are sudden changes on fingernails such as dark or black spots and grooves on all fingernails.
  • If you suspect to have underlying conditions in the body such as liver infection, heart disorders, kidney infection, lung diseases and thyroid diseases.
  • If your fingernail gets torn off or crushed due to physical injuries.
  • When there is a red spot under the nail due to internal bleeding.
  • If your fingernails get brittle suddenly and break
  • If nails develop ridges as simultaneously you develop body weakness and illness accompanying other weird symptoms.

Sources and References

  1. Signs and symptoms of ridges in fingernails: http://www.healthline.com/health/ridges-in-fingernails#overview1
  2. Cause of ridges in fingernails: http://www.healthline.com/health/ridges-in-fingernails#causes-and-symptoms3
  3. Vertical ridges on fingernails: http://www.medicinenet.com/vertical_ridges_on_the_fingernails/symptoms.htm
  4. Horizontal ridges on fingernails: http://www.healthline.com/health/ridges-in-fingernails#pictures2
  5. Beau’s lines on fingernails: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beau%27s_lines
  6. Ridges in thumbnails: https://www.google.com/search?q=Ridges+in+thumbnails&client=firefox-b&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8kaLVweTVAhWKLMAKHbjdA70QsAQIkAE&biw=1366&bih=636
  7. Black or dark lines in fingernails: http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/skin-care-articles/black-lines-in-fingernails/
  8. White ridges in fingernails: http://www.livestrong.com/article/78232-reasons-white-lines-nails/
  9. Treatment of ringers in fingernails: http://www.healthline.com/health/ridges-in-fingernails#treatment5
  10. Home remedies for ridges on finger nails: http://www.natural-homeremedies.com/blog/how-to-cure-ridges-in-your-finger-nails/
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