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Fingernails And What They Reveal



Hpathy Ezine, November, 2005 | Print This Post Print This Post |

The appearance and colour of nails not only reflects the status of our health but can give valuable information about the underlying disease condition and as a homeopath, it can also help us in selecting the most appropriate homeopathic remedy. The following analysis by Dr. Gabrielle Traub gives us an insight into the various states of our nails, their underlying pathology and also the most appropriate homeopathic remedies.

Lines and indentations:

Ridges can signify a possible infection such as the flu.

Beau’s lines

Transverse depressions. Occurs when growth at the nail root (matrix) is interrupted by any severe acute illness e.g. heart attack, measles, pneumonia, or fever. These lines emerge from under the nail folds weeks later, and allow us to estimate when the patient was sick.

NAILS; corrugated; transversely: ars., med.

Beau's lines on nails Beau's lines on nails

Mee’s lines

Transverse white lines that run across the nail, following the shape of the nail moon. Uncommon. Causality: after acute/severe illness, Arsenic poisoning.

Thus homeopathic remedy= Ars alb

Mee's lines on nails

Vertical ridges

(Lengthwise grooves or ridges) – may indicate a kidney disorder (kidney failure); associated with ageing; iron deficiency (Anemia). May indicate a tendency to develop arthritis

NAILS; roughness fingernails; ridges, longitudinal: fl-ac.

NAILS; roughness fingernails; ribbed: thuj.

NAILS; corrugated: ars., calc., calc-f., fl-ac., med., ph-ac., sabad., sel., Sil., thuj.

Vertical ridges on nails Vertical ridges on nails

Nail shape

Clubbing of the fingers

fingertips widen and become round. Nails curve around your fingertips, more convex. Proximal nail fold feels spongy. Caused by enlargement in connective tissue as compensation for a chronic lack of oxygen. e.g. severe emphysema Lung disease is present in 80 percent of people who have clubbed fingers. It may also appear in chronic infections especially abscesses, lung cancer, chronic lung (chronic bronchitis, emphysema) and heart disease, longstanding TB, congenital heart disease, cyanotic, primary biliary cirrhosis.

med., nit-ac., tub.

curved fingernails; consumption, in: med., tub.

Clubbing of the fingersClubbing of the finger nails

Pitting

Small pits or depressions. Most common nail problem seen in 25 percent to 50 percent of people with psoriasis.

Extremities; NAILS; holes in: ars.

Nail Pitting

Psoriasis – pitting, onycholysis, thickening, circumscribed yellowish tan discoloration “oil spot” lesion.

Spoon nails

Soft nails that look scooped out. Depression is usually large enough to hold a drop of liquid. Often indicates iron deficiency anemia.

Extremities; NAILS; complaints of; depressed: med.

Spoon nails

Onycholysis

Lifting of the nail from the nail bed. Causes: trauma, psoriasis, drug reactions, bacterial/fungal infection, contact dermatitis from using nail hardeners, thyroid disease, iron deficiency anemia or syphilis.

Looseness fingernails: apis., med., pyrog., ust.

OnycholysisLifting of nail from nailbedLifting of nails from nailbed

Nail growth

Nail hypertrophy

Thickening of the nail. Either congenital (e.g. Mal de Meleda) or acquired – The nail becomes deformed with claw like appearance. Causes: Not cutting the nails, trauma, Leprosy, peripheral vascular disorders.

NAILS; hypertrophy: calc-f., fl-ac., graph., laur.

NAILS; thick: alum., anan., ant-c., ars., but-ac., calc., calc-f., calo., caust., falco-p., ferr., fl-ac., Graph., merc., pitu-a., pop-c., sabad., sec., sep., Sil., sulph., ust., x-ray

Thickening of the nail

Nail atrophy:

The nail becomes thin, rudimentary and smaller size congenital or acquired. Causes: Lichen planus, Epidermolysis bullosa, Darrier’s disease, vascular disturbances, Leprosy.

NAILS; atrophic: sil.

NAILS; grow, do not: ant-c., pitu-a., rad-br., sil.

Thin nails

Nail Patella Syndrome

a rare genetic disorder, occurs in 2.2 out of every 100,000 people and causes abnormalities in the bones and nails. autosomal dominant. Carried by the ABO blood group.

Nails present as small and concave, longitudinally grooved, abnormally split, pitted, softened, discolored, or brittle.

Remedies: Thuja, Graphites, Calc-flour, Syph.

H; Hands; NAILS, fingers, general; grow, nails, do not: ant-c., calc., sil.

Gabrielle Traub

Dr. Gabrielle Traub is a practising homeopath and teacher from San Diego/California. She has built up an organization which promotes homeopathic awareness with the help of more than 50 co-ordinators from 37 countries and thousands of dedicated homeopaths. Chair: World Homeopathic Awareness Committee Wellness Kliniek 3268 Governor Drive San Diego, CA 92122 tel: Appointments (858) 457-0374 X 0 tel2: Voicemail (858) 457-0191 X 19 email: gtraub@gmail.com

Comments

  1. Ann Williamson

    July 24, 2010

    I have been using a nail hardener given to me by a friend. I did not have instrucions how to use it. since I started to use it the nail growth has been very good and the nails have hardened like bone. but each nail appears brusied from the point of when I used the nail hardener. Do you have any idea why this has happened

    • Gale

      August 15, 2012

      A long time ago a friend told me to add a few drops of formaldehyde to my nail polish or hardener and it would make my nails grow faster and they would be harder. It worked. Then, I thought if I added a few more drops than she told me to use that it would work faster, it did. But. as it sat on my nails and dryed, my entire nailbed started to ache and felt extremely bruised. It was a terrible pain and I removed the application asap. Of course later I realized how unhealthy that was and always warn anyone from trying it themselves.

  2. Eric

    July 28, 2010

    It comes onycholysis. A reaction to nail hardeners or acrylic nails.

  3. Jojo

    August 5, 2010

    The tip of my finger nails is light brownish in color. 4 months ago I was detected as having hepatitis B, and since then I have been following medical treatment, and later I realized that the brownish light color on my finger tips has vanished but now it has return back. Please is the light brownish color at the tip of my finger nails a sign of Hepatitis B?

  4. Sreeja Shaji

    December 3, 2010

    Don’t know whether my query pertains to this site. But still since it has to do with nails I thought I can ask. Can you tell me what causes excessive nail biting. Does it indicate any deficiency in diet other than anxiety or stress. Please advise.

    • kuyoni

      February 20, 2011

      You have a problem with self esteem, you have no confidence in yourself. Try to gain self esteem, have belief in your self worth and it will stop.

      • Sarina

        October 16, 2011

        Nail biting does not always have to do with self esteem. My immediate thought is that some people bite their nails when they are nervous. Further, http://www.brainphysics.com/nail-biting.php says it is an impulse control disorder or OCD. There is a lot of good information there and also suggestions on normal treatment for it. I’m just saying you should look into things further before jumping to a “diagnosis” and I use that term very lightly.

        • Silent Storm

          February 4, 2012

          I have found that nail biting can be triggered by sugar intake. I use to bite my nails all the time especially when I got nervous. i also consumed white sugar, white flour, and white rice products. When I got off of those products I found that I never would bite my nails. This is a very simple solution to nail biting.

          Silent Storm

          • tracy butler

            February 21, 2012

            I found this to be true for me also. After getting sugar out of my diet for a long time I noticed that I had finger nails and hadn’t noticed that I wasnt’t biting them anymore.

    • Louisa

      August 13, 2012

      I never bit my nails until an admission form to a Catholic elementary school asked if I bit my nails…I tried it and it became habitual. Continued a total of 46 years and only stopped because I had acrylic nails put on for a wedding. When they were removed I no longer had the biting habit. Simple as that.

      • Gale

        August 15, 2012

        Wow…the power of suggestion!! I bet you’d make a perfect hypnosis subject.

    • Pam

      February 14, 2013

      Chronic nail biting has to do with the inability to overcome the emotional feeling that one’s performance or reasoning is inadequate. The sense of adequacy comes from early childhood when one is developing a sense of self separate from mother. For whatever reason, the process is hampered and the progrssion of emotional growth is slowed, halted, or diverted. So, one continues through life experiencing self doubt and anxiety.Coping mechanisms such as nail biting, hair pulling, or picking develop.

    • Emily ann

      August 3, 2013

      In some cases it is due to intestinal parasites. Especially if you are attracted to eat the cuticle skin surrounding the nail etc. This skin represents a source of protein and the parasites are upsetting your protein assimilation as they are hosts living off of you. I highly recommend you do a parasite cleanse if you think this rings true.

      Also, w/ parasites you will feel cloudy and not vitally vibrant as they are disturbing your total amount of chi you have to work with on a daily basis.

      Good Luck!
      Em

  5. Rhonda

    January 6, 2011

    Hi, My dad is has in-stage Kidney Diseases he has about 8/9% renal function in the pass 4 month we have seen some of his finger nail beds go dark/brownish color and get very ruff, some nail have even lifted from the nail bed. But then some are just fine and growing normal. His nurse does think this is renal related more of maybe a fungus. What do you think? Thanks Rhonda

  6. angela

    January 16, 2011

    My son is 5 years old and his nails are not growing since a year. does any one have any information. i really appreciate your help in this regard. angela

  7. dr.seema more

    February 1, 2011

    thanks for this valuable information…this will definately help us in diagnosis and prognosis of acase.

  8. Debby Bruck

    February 2, 2011

    Superb and complete information with illustrations about nails and nail deformity related to disease. Thank you so much Gabrielle

  9. Catherine

    February 3, 2011

    Thanks for the very informative segment!

    I get multiple tiny brown lines at the tips which appear somewhat similar to splinter haemorrhages but on a much smaller scale (no more than 2mm). Randomly placed though predominantly appearing on my thumbs and index fingers – usually 2 or 3 on each nail at the very tip where one would expect an actuals splinter to have been wedged but there’s no actual trauma. Occassionally it appears further up the nail.

    As it doesn’t hurt and cause any discomfort I’m wondering if its a indication of something I’ve overlooked?

  10. Dr.Jyoti Methawani

    February 7, 2011

    very nice illustration with repertorial rubrics.I liked it though small part of body that is usually not taken in to diagnostic approach except for few conditions like anaemia,jaundice but how much these nails are important for the prognosis,it should b taken in to consideration during head to toe examination of patient.thank u so much for such a excellent article DR GABRIELLE

  11. Mema

    February 8, 2011

    Wow, great info, very thorough article and pictures! The pictures are very helpful! I’ve suspected leaky gut and that my amalgams are off gassing more, which would also lead to more digestive issues, as well as I do not have a gallbladder. I’m also currently nursing my 18 m old. And I’ve always had vertical ridges in my nails off and on through the years, but recently they’ve gotten very thick on my thumbnails. And I think this definitely clarified it for me.

    Longitudinal lines: indicate inability of the digestive system to absorb food properly.

  12. Dr. Sayeed Ahmad

    February 9, 2011

    What a wonderful article it is with valuable information and knowledge on this important subject of nails. Thanks to Author of this article.

    With best regards

    Sincerely yours
    Dr. Sayeed Ahmad

  13. rajesh malaviya

    February 10, 2011

    really new approach regarding nails,it can be added to repertory too,

  14. David Chapman

    February 12, 2011

    Thank you for the valuable work in collating this information on nails. Nails provide an excellent tool in diagnostics, but It’s difficult to find the information in one place.

  15. rachel

    February 13, 2011

    I’ve found the same splinter-like symptoms as Catherine and am wondering if they may be a symptom of something as well? The ones I have are on my ring finger and my thumbs.

  16. Sophia

    February 21, 2011

    When I am pregnant the white tips of my nails seem to extend further back down my nail, so half of the nail ends up white. ie the white tips start from half way down the nail. It starts with my little finger and ring finger and I wonder if this is normal and/or if it indicates any difficiency. It starts just after ovulation so I actually see it as an early pregnancy indicator! I have had 2 miscarriages in the last year so would appreacite any advice. They go back to normal within a couple of weeks after I miscarry.

    I lived abroad for a few years where the doctors routinely look at your nails when they examine you, but no-one here seems to care when I mention this. Hope you can help.

    • Pat Hogen

      March 15, 2011

      Sophie,do you smoke/drink spirits?
      For starters…please get a 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 test.VERY IMPORTANT!
      Have your B12 levels checked and folic acid,B6 and in fact all the B vits are important.Chromium.Take quality VitC product.
      Average GP may do the basic checks but are light years behind the times as far as nutritional information/knowledge is concerned.Their incentive is money from pushing Big Pharma`s products…you are not going to have the 8 laws of health listed for you,let alone explained.
      With nutritionists/epidemiologist in the family,the first port of call for the sick individual is a hair analysis,we all have regular ones too….to monitor heavy metals.Blood tests are good for some things as are urine tests but a sample of the last six months of hair growth(approx 1″ nearest scalp)will reveal an awful lot.
      If you have heavy metals stored in the body,these interfere with metabolic processes and need removing using a safe procedure.They can be stored in the body for many years causing problems if not removed.
      Few examples from the thousands done in the last 30 years.Plumber(&his wife!)-high Lead,Mechanic-Cadmium&Lead),Ceramics student-high cobalt,many individuals with high Mercury or Aluminium or Arsenic.Even a nobbled racehorse mystery solved as well as many other fascinating revelations.
      Smokers very often show high Cadmium levels among others.Smoking itself triggers Liver into phase 1 detox mode but it`s phase 2 which is the one needing a helping hand in the average unhealthy individual.

      • Will Ullrich

        February 14, 2012

        Do you know of a good place to find information on natural hygiene? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

        Thanks.

  17. suzie bunie

    March 19, 2011

    What does a sudden black thick line on the index finger mean? The line goes from the cuticle to the end of the nail longitudenally? The other symptom is fatigue.

    Worried

    • C

      January 24, 2013

      It can be a sign of melanoma. (Skin cancer) please seek medical attention ASAP to rule this out

  18. edel

    March 23, 2011

    Hi

    My 4 year old’s nails grow a bit strangely. It’s as though the “underneath” grows first and another grows on top but at a slower rate and the 2 layers never quite join as the tops of them are alot weaker and you can actually pull them off with your fingers because it’s really soft. He does by the way suck his thumbs. His diet is well-balanced & loves vegetables (miracle!)

    I’d very much appreciate if you could throw any light on this.

    Thanks a mill

    Edel

  19. Katrina Graham

    March 29, 2011

    Fantastic informative article on Nails – what they reveal…
    Really helped me with a case today.
    Thanks so much

  20. carly

    April 13, 2011

    I have been getting holes at the bottom of my nails, and the holes are in the first few layers of the nail. I bite my nails a lot, and I was wondering if this could be the problem?

  21. Glo D'Gal

    May 4, 2011

    This is an excellent article. As I read this article and compared the information to my own nails, I found that the information certain aspects of my own nails and health were consistent.

    Thank you for doing this article. It was very informant and easy to understand. I look forward to reading more of your articles.

  22. Philip Johnson

    May 20, 2011

    Dear Dr. Traub,
    Thank you for the most interesting information about nail conditions and what they might signify. I have one nail (left hand, number three, whichever side you start counting from) which has either the spoon nail defect or Beau’s line, I’m not quite sure which. The transverse depression does go right across the nail, but it doesn’t have a crusty ridge (which your photo shows for Beau’s line). The corresponding finger on the right hand has a recurrent longitudinal split at the tip which I keep opening up. The only solution seems to be to keep it filed ultra short so that it won’t catch in anything. I also notice a fine, even, londitudinal line structure (but no splits) on whole length of the ring fingers of both hands. The little fingers of both hands hseem to have no discernable half-moons (yet all the other fingers do have them). I wonder if there is any significance as to which finger of a hand is abnormal, or to which hand the abnormality is manifest on? And is it usual to have the three symptoms I describe all at the same time?
    I’m sure you have plenty to do with your time, but I’d be grateful for a brief response if you are able.
    Thank you
    Philip Johnson

  23. Ann Stewart

    May 21, 2011

    The best site on the Web covering fingernails and what causes their abnormalities! Great work!

  24. balwan

    May 27, 2011

    I am having the same signs on my nails of both the hands. Although i get these lines on all the fingers and thumbs. They appear randomly. Start with slight pain at the site and the red line appears later which turns black within 3-4 days.Is it some deficiency disorder?

  25. SANKHU SHEKHAR CHAKRAVARTI

    June 5, 2011

    Worthy Doctor, My elder brother has been sufferinng from nail disease.His nail is wrinkled with bleeding and pain. I suggest for SILICA i.e (SiO2) am I right? Please suggest me.THANKYOU. Your obedient SANKHU.

  26. gausia

    June 26, 2011

    hiii
    have dotted nails
    what it indicates?
    Hw to cure?
    plz tll me in detail……..

  27. Daryl

    July 8, 2011

    Great article and very helpful with the pictures. There are 2 things I have though that weren’t present in the article. One is one slightly raised line under my thumbnail from matrix to end that caused a split at the end. Going on 5 plus years. Then 2 weeks ago I notice 2 finger nails and 4 toe nails have a softer spot in the shape of a V starting at the end (not the matrix). Looks funny and I want to get rid of all of this. Help?

  28. anita

    August 24, 2011

    I usually have nicely shaped nails that grow to a reasonable length and are all straight and uniform, but recently the nails on my middle fingers seem to dip down towards my finger on one side. This is more pronounced the longer they get. They look normal if I cut them right back.
    Any ideas what might be causing it please?

    • Ken

      March 3, 2012

      I was wondering if you ever found out what is wrong with your nails? I am experiencing the same thing for about three weeks now!

  29. janice

    September 10, 2011

    I am curious why my 10 month old boy’s nails are growing on the sides of the nail, but not in the middle part of the nail. I am talking about the white section of the nail that you trim. I will need to trim the left and right sides of the white part, but the center area does not grow out from the nail bed. His nails used to grow nicely and quickly as my other children. He gets almost 100% of his nutrition from nursing. I have not seen this before. Thanks for any help.

  30. Shelly Tanner

    September 22, 2011

    HI,
    Could you please help me, I have a 11 yr old son that 4 yrs ago his fingernails turned white. I had the docs check his kidneys, liver enzymes, they just checked his iron a few months ago and it was somewhat low. He also has dark circles under his eyes. I am worried about him.

    Also, me, I have a small red streak on my right pointing finger, and the tips of some of my nails curve down to one side, also on my right thumb nail I have a wide vertical band, I have no lunas except my thumbs and they are not white, they are pinkish white with a red band above the luna. the nail beds are also redish pink and white in the middle of some of them. This all started 3 years ago for me.
    Thank you,
    I hope you can help me.
    Shelly

  31. sue

    October 13, 2011

    What makes your nails grow in broken? Both my mother and I have thumb nails that grow in cracked on the side in the pink part. In my case my right index finger also grows in cracked, always on the same side in the same place. This same nail twists when it gets long (if it doesn’t grow in broken). (ie: looking at the nail the right side dips and curls under and the left side “bubbles” up)

  32. Aaron

    October 24, 2011

    My grandfather is 80 years old. When he was a boy he got yellow toenail foot fungus that for years he has incorrectly called athletes foot as a slang term for his problem. He has suffered severely from Heart Disease for 30 years, surviving two major open heart surgery procedures, the first of which was a triple bypass in 1981. Recently he has been in failing health, white blood cell count high, pig valves from 2001 surgery are starting to deteriorate, and the yellow toenail foot fungus is as bad as ever. Is he too old/too frail of health to try things like tea tree oil or other topical solutions to cure the fungus??

    • Profile photo of

      Alan V. Schmukler

      October 25, 2011

      Dear Aaron,

      Suppressing an external symptom always risks creating a more serious problem. He’s lived with it all these years, so I would leave well enough alone.

  33. Badal Majumdar

    November 6, 2011

    For a practitioner, this article is invaluable. It has clearly
    narrated how a disease can be diagnosed through observing nails. Also,
    improvement of nail-deformity can be used as a pointer to the improvement
    of internal disease. Thanks to the author with gratitude.

  34. Merrick Swaffar

    December 17, 2011

    my nails get white bands all the way acrose them parrallel with the cudical. the discoloation grows out with the nail. it starts out as an opaque white and then grows out and becomes more solid. it has been ongoing for over a year, but i have not experienced any other symptoms. some times it compleatly goes away when thenails grow all the way out, and then reapears after a couple weeks. one thing that i have noticed is that it does not occur on the thumb or pinkie nails. any help would be exelent thanks.

  35. LAVONA

    January 5, 2012

    Thank you so much for this article. It was a God-send. I have for years gotten acrylic nails because I can’t seem to grow my own. But I have recently stopped because I thought that it was what was causing my nail damage. They are brittle, dry, and chipped and crack all of the time. My toe nails are the worst. the have a very dark hue to them and they get really thick especially the big toe. I used to get B-12 shots and I stopped but I have noticed that the darkening went away during that time. I have recently had my gallbladder removed and I am not the best at taking vitamin supplements and earting right. I have such discomfort from eating until I go someday without eating anything until at night before bed. Wow some things are really going to have to change. Thanks again for the eye opener.

  36. Profile photo of

    N Sahi

    January 30, 2012

    Amazing compilation…very helpful! Thanks a tonne!

  37. Profile photo of

    N Sahi

    January 30, 2012

    Very useful compilation. Thanks a tonne!

  38. Robin C

    March 4, 2012

    My nails are quite thin and are tearing easily. THere are also longitudinal lines or ridges. What could be wrong? Would like to have healthy nails.

  39. tmr

    May 9, 2012

    Have always had healthy nails but lately they have turned yellowish from the tip to middle of nail –also have ridges but have always had those. I do use colored nail polish. Could the sudden discoloration be from the polishes or should I look further?

  40. John

    June 15, 2012

    This tells me where I am at,and the worst is to come soon.
    It tells me what the doctors DONT tell. Some yrs ago one doctor took my hand and looked at my finger nails, he said little to me. Last night I cut my nails and I saw they had changed,from the start of the nail to half way up it was white under the nail. Clearly my gut is failing me and is is a slow drag down without a cure. It is your gut that does provide the good stuff we need to be healthy. I am about to go to the Doc around lunch time. Am thinking to try to peddle the Yaris this weekend, it will be less weight on my partner after.

  41. Crystal

    June 26, 2012

    My nails seem to resemble the one they said is Psoriasis; i went to my dermatologist and she says its just temporary and its still here after a year

  42. Marie

    July 3, 2012

    Was diagnosed with iron deficiency (have a great new doctor who actually listened and looked for the right things) and had been wondering for years what caused the spooning “dents” in my thumbnails. Wish I had known sooner, though luckily am not anemic. Feeling better on supplements, and my nails have improved a little.

  43. akash

    August 6, 2012

    thanks for this beautiful simplification of the medical termin
    ologies

  44. Brooke

    August 29, 2012

    What could cause this?…..My 8 year old daughter has NEVER has never had her finger nails cut her entire life and I would only have to cut her toe nails about once a year, yet her hair grows beautifully (i always thought they went hand in hand). I know that this sounds like a classic case of nail biting, but a baby can’t bite their nails & I have been watching her carefully for many years now, especially when she is watching tv etc (prime time for nail biters Ive been told) and even in her sleep yet I have never witnessed her biting her nails (We have tried the yucky nail paint just in case.. with no success) Aside from this she is healthy, BUT she suffers from anxiety (yes I realise this also points to nail biting) & temper tantrums that an 8 year old should not be having. I’m beginning to think there may be a link there somewhere.. perhaps a mineral or vitamin deficiency. Any ideas??? Ps My own nails & her father & sisters nails all grow very quickly & are very strong, so it’s not genetic.

  45. Cher'ley

    December 15, 2012

    Great article

  46. Travis

    January 17, 2013

    I have read everything here and many other pages in similar discussion, Thank you for all the info. I am still very much unsure of what I am looking at I have about 13 thin black lines ranging in size from 4-2 mm in length running vertical on both thumbs. The lines start above the moons and stop at tip. What is this? My doctor things It’s nothing and won’t help. What do you think I should do?

  47. Pam Cunningham

    March 4, 2013

    I have a length wise grove suddenly on one of my nails. It says Arthritis which I have (age 63) or Kidney failure. My doctor has been looking for a reason for my high Bilirubin (1.5). I had an ultra sound on my Kidney and it was ok. Do I need to worry?

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