Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why does my thumbnail have a vertical ridge running through it?"
I am a 67 year old female who has had a misformed thumbnail on my left hand. There is a vertical indentation running through the whole length of the nail. I thought after the nail completely grew out it might be gone but it has been this way for 2 years at least and doesn't change. None of the other nails have it. Should I be concerned?
Physicians can tell a lot about a person's health from there hands. Fingernails can develop ridges, change colors, and change shapes with many different diseases. However, when only one fingernail is effected, it usually does not mean that you have a condition. It most likely means that at some point you injured the nail bed on that finger, or it could be just a natural part of your aging. From there on out, the nail grew with this indentation running through it. Horizontal indentations (also known as Beau's lines) across each nail may be a sign of a systemic disease or a side effect of a medication such as chemotherapy. In your case (with the vertical indentation) It may change or decrease over time, but is unlikely to go away completely. In addition, I think that any aggressive therapies such as surgery would not give you satisfactory results. Keep in mind that from my desk, I cannot examine your fingers to determine what is exactly going on. Thus I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can review your medical history examine your fingers, and make sure that these changes are in fact benign. Good luck.
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