ZocdocAnswersWhat are these white bumps in my fingernails?

Question

What are these white bumps in my fingernails?

Have these white bumps and spots in my fingernails. What are they? Are they the sign of a health problem?

Answer

The white spots that you see in your nails have a technical medical name - they are known as leukonychia. They are totally benign, and they do not represent any serious underlying medical condition. Although there are several nail conditions that are associated with serious health problems, these isolated white spots scattered through the nails are not one of these conditions. No one entirely knows what causes leukonychia. However, the most widely accepted theory is that they occur from minor trauma to the nail matrix (located at the base of the nail and responsible for generating new nail material). The most common forms of trauma to the nail matrix are those sustained from frequent nail manicures or the application and removal of false nails and from frequent nail biting. Therefore, you may want to trying refraining from manicures and from nail biting for a while and see if that helps improve things. There is another theory that leukonychia occur from various nutritional deficiencies, such as zinc deficiency. However, this theory has not stood up very well to scrutiny, and you probably don't need to worry about potential nutritional problems unless you have other types of nail defects. However, don't hesitate to schedule a complete check up with your primary care doctor if you are still worried.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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