Vertical Ridges on the Fingernails

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Ridged fingernails refers to the presence of tiny raised lines or ridges that run either up and down the length of the nail (vertical ridges) or, less commonly, across the nail (horizontal ridges). Ridges are among the different kinds of nail abnormalities that can develop due to aging, trauma, or underlying medical conditions. Some people notice an increase in vertical ridges of the fingernails as they age, and this can be a normal development. Onychorrhexis is the medical term used to describe longitudinal ridges on the nails that often accompany brittle nails. Longitudinal ridges on the nails can either arise due to aging or may accompany certain chronic medical conditions. Trauma may also be a cause of nail ridges.

In contrast to longitudinal ridges, Beau's lines are horizontal or transverse depressions in the nail that may be confused with nail ridging. These are caused by diseases that affect the entire body, including malnutrition, heart attack (myocardial infarction), severe infections, and metabolic disturbances including poorly controlled diabetes.

Patients may experience the related symptoms of Nail Separation, Beau's Lines, and/or Koilonychia.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2012

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REFERENCES:

Fawcett, Robert S., and Sean Lindord, MD. "Nail Abnormalities: Clues to Systemic Disease." American Family Physician 69.6 Mar. 15, 2004.: 1417-1424. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0315/p1417.html>.

"Fingernail Abnormalities." Medscape.com. <http://reference.medscape.com/features/slideshow/fingernail-abnormalities>.

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Other Causes of Vertical Ridges on the Fingernails
  • Chemotherapy
  • Darier Disease
  • Medications
  • Normal Aging
  • Overuse of Nail Solvents Such as Polish Remover
  • Surgery
  • Toxins
  • Trauma
  • Zinc Deficiency




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