What Do Dents In Fingernails Mean? Its Causes And Remedies

Nails are made of keratin, a protein. This hardened protein protects the nerve endings as well as the nail bed. Healthy nails are strong, have no dents and are more often than not free from breakage. Nails which are split and have dent, indicate some medical condition which needs to be addressed promptly.

Causes And Remedies Of Dents In Fingernails

Here are some of the common reasons that cause the fingernail to dent.

  • Trauma / injury to the nail can cause the fingernail to dent. It can be excruciatingly painful, depending upon the kind of injury that you’ve had. A split, dented fingernail can be trimmed to prevent snagging on clothing and unintentional scratches.
  • Fingernails which are constantly underwater tend to get dented. To prevent this, use of rubber gloves are advised whilst cleaning. You should cut the nails short and file them down into a rounded edge. Not only working in water for a long time can damage the nails; so can long baths and manicures.
    Excessive water weakens the composition of the nails and causes denting and splitting.
  • Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes growth of skin cells rapidly. It manifests as dry and scaly skin which can affect the nail bed as well. It is seen as plaques on the skin, which is an accumulation of dry, rough and thick skin. Most people who suffer from psoriasis are known to experience fingernail dents. It is rather tough to treat psoriasis in the nail since topical applications cannot penetrate the nail bed. Your health care provider will advise vitamin A and E supplements, steroidal creams, salicylic acid cream and tar preparation. In severe cases, the nail needs to be surgically excised. Hence, it is recommended that you keep the nails cut as close to the nail bed as possible to help allay the pain related to split nails.
  • Dents in the fingernails may appear if you have a fungal infection. Hence, it is vital that a prompt diagnosis is made and you start anti-fungal treatment.
  • Some people develop deep ridges and dents across the nails called Beau’s lines. These are known to develop when a person falls sick or experiences some type of injury which interrupts the normal growth pattern of the nail. Usually, Beau’s lines grow out on their own and don’t need any treatment, but they indicate serious health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, a mineral inadequacy and peripheral vascular disease.
  • Reiter Syndrome is a type of reactive arthritis, which occurs due to bacterial infection. The condition manifests as pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints, as well as inflammation of the eyes and urinary tract. Nails are dented and splintered. The treatment regimen for Reiter syndrome comprises of – antibiotics, immune-suppressants, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and corticosteroids.
  • Alopecia Areata is a disorder that is characterized by hair loss, and dents in the fingernails is an associated feature of the condition. Those who have alopecia areata, lose patches of hair on the scalp. Confer with your health care provider / dermatologist to understand the most optimal treatment regimen for you.

It is very vital for you to establish the precise cause for your dented nails and embark on the correct treatment; more so, for those with inexplicable fingernail conditions. Treatments differ according to the doctor’s examination and assessment.