Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why are there ridges on my finger nails?"
I am a 23 year old student. I have never gotten fake nails on my fingers before. I have gotten manicures and pedicures before and also have tried doing my own manicures and pedicures. During these sessions, they have buffed and does other such things to my nails. They are still very ridge and bumpy. Why is this? Can I do anything for it?
Ridges in the nails can mean different things depending on how they are oriented. For example vertical ridges in the nails running from the tip to the cuticle are benign and generally do not indicate any problem, medical or otherwise. The occur for unclear reasons in some individuals, and they may be genetic. On the other hand, horizontal ridges running across the nail should always be investigated by your primary care doctor. This is because horizontal ridges usually mean that some stress on the body is affecting the normal functioning of the cells at the base of the fingernail that make the new nail. Things that can affect the functioning of these cells include nutritional problems and vitamin deficiencies, problems with the thyroid gland, a recent severe illness, or an underlying medical problem like cancer. If the ridges in your nail are neither vertical or horizontal but more irregular and pitted in nature, then another possibility would be psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition of the skin characterized by red scaling spots and sometimes joint or nail involvement. Occasionally it can present just as nail pitting without another other findings. Start by talking to your dermatologist or primary care doctor who can help you figure out what is going on.
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