MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: What causes fingernails to have ridges?

Date: Fri Aug 4 07:38:02 2000
Posted By: Gerald Bock. MD, M.D., Family Practice, Aviation Medicine, Aviation Medical Specialists
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 963555957.Me

A very good question. I am sorry for the delay in answering the question. 
The scientific term for what you are describing is  ONYCHOSCHIZIA. It is a 
vvery common problem and occurs in women more than men. The term includes 
splitting, frail, soft or thin nails and ridges. The most common cause is 
repetitive and prolonged wetting and drying of the nails. Trauma to the 
fingers is also a cause. Using nail polish remover can cause it as well.

In some cases, abnormal fingernails may indicate a systemic disease such 
as one involving the heart or lungs. Some people may inherit their nails 
from their parents. Another cause could be vitamin or nutritional 
deficiency - that would be rare in our country. I hope this helps.

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