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6 Common Nail Abnormalities and How to Treat Them

 to  toNot all nails are created equal or normal. Different nail shapes mean different things and could show signs of abnormality. Sometimes they are a cause for concern and other times they heal on their own and mean nothing. If you have a concern about a certain nail abnormality, the dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can help diagnose and treat them.


Healthy Nails vs. Nail Abnormalities

A healthy nail looks smooth whereas a nail with an abnormality may have some ridges. They will have consistent coloring and nail abnormalities will show discoloration. It may be hard to decipher between what is normal and abnormal. If it becomes hard to decipher that is when you will want to get a dermatologist involved. Nail abnormalities may be caused by medical conditions. Abnormalities not caused by a medical condition may include beau’s lines, clubbing, spooning, mees’ lines, pitting, yellow nails and others.


A Deep Dive into Nail Abnormalities

Here we take a look at a variety of nail abnormalities, nail abnormality causes and nail abnormality treatments.

Beau’s Lines

Beau’s lines can be a sign of malnourishment, pneumonia, uncontrolled diabetes or zinc deficiency. When looking for Beau’s lines in the nails, you will notice indents in the middle of the nails.


Clubbing can be associated with low oxygen in the blood, cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, pulmonary disease and AIDS. Signs of clubbing to look for include thickening of the nail and the nail curving around the fingertips.


Spooning is often related to iron deficiency, heart disease, hyperthyroidism or lupus. Spooning is when the nail literally looks like a spoon to the point where liquid could be held in it because of how high the fingernail ridges have become.

Mees’ Lines

Mees’ lines are similar to what your nail looks like if you ever have smashed your finger in a drawer and it comes out with white lines across it. If you didn’t smash your finger in a drawer and your nails have white lines on them, this could be a sign of Mees’ lines. Mees’ lines could be caused by arsenic poisoning and is important to have diagnosed immediately.


If you have psoriasis it is likely you have experienced pitting. Small depressions and little pits are noticeable in the nails.

Yellow Nails

Lymphedema, respiratory illnesses and rheumatoid arthritis are common causes of yellow nails. When experiencing yellow nails you will also notice thickness in the nail, slow growth and even pulling away from the nail bed.

Treating many of these nail abnormalities often comes down to simple nail care. This includes not biting or picking at your nails, keeping the nails clean, and trying to keep them as strong as possible.

If you have experienced any of these nail conditions and aren’t sure if they should be a concern or not, get a dermatologist involved. If you are in the Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding area, contact Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute to work with one of our dermatologists.

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