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Ridges in fingernails

Vertical ridges sometimes appear along the length of the fingernails.

Sometimes marks, discoloration or pits or grooves on a fingernail, such as those that run from side to side (known as Beau's lines), can be an indication of a nail injury or a health problem. However, in the case of vertical ridges, there is normally no reason to be concerned. These ridges look and feel like raised lines, and they run from the cuticle at the base of the fingernail to the tip. These ridges are not usually a sign of injury or a health problem but are a harmless result of ageing. They often become more prominent or numerous as you get older.

However, if the vertical ridges are accompanied by brittle nails, with jagged edges or splitting, you may have a condition known as onychorrhexis, which may be linked to a skin-related medical condition such as lichen planus, a type of non-infectious skin rash, or certain other health conditions such as anaemia or an underactive thyroid gland. Also, if the ridges run horizontally from side to side, they may indicate a health problem. So you should seek medical advice.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 12, 2017

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