Clubbing of the fingers is attributed to the nails becoming round and wide, primarily due to thickening of the nail plate. Clubbing of fingers can develop within a few weeks and are often linked with several disease conditions.
Clubbing of fingers is associated with certain characteristic signs and symptoms,
- The nail becomes soft, which gives it a typically appearance as though the nail is detached from the nail bed and floating.
- The angle between the cuticle and the nail increases, such that they are in aligned in a straight line.
- The finger tips become enlarged. The tips become warm and red.
- Downward curving of the nail is also observed.
Invariably the condition is associated with symptoms of an underlying disorder affecting the lung, heart or the endocrinal system.
What Causes Clubbing Of The Fingers?
Clubbing of the fingers is usually attributed to conditions that reduce the oxygen concentration in the blood. Some of the common causes associated with clubbed fingers include,
- Lung Cancer is the single most common cause for clubbing of fingers. Lung cancer is associated with difficulty in breathing which in turn affects the concentration of oxygen in blood.
- Pulmonary fibrosis is another condition which is associated with replacement of normal lung tissue by fibrous tissue, which interferes with the ability of blood to exchange gases and causes a drop in blood oxygen concentration.
- A congenital anomaly referred to as Tetralogy of Fallot is another condition linked with clubbed fingers.
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and is associated with clubbed fingers. Other associated symptoms include low grade fever, night sweats and enlarged lymph nodes.
- Bronchiectasis and Asbestosis are two conditions which can lead to scarring of lung tissue and contribute to the development of clubbed fingers.
- Heart valve disease and cardiac disorders are also linked with clubbed fingers.
- Celiac disease which is characterized by inability of the small intestine to absorb gluten is another cause for clubbing of fingers. This is an autoimmune disease.
- Liver cirrhosis and Grave’s disease are other causes associated with this condition.
How To Get Rid Of Clubbed Fingers?
The treatment of clubbed fingers primarily focuses on treating the underlying condition. Cancers can be treated with radiation or chemotherapy, while congenital cardiac disorders are treated with surgery. Though clubbing of fingers, itself is not a health concern, there are certain treatment therapies that might be beneficial for management of clubbed fingers by treating the underlying cause,
- Oxygen therapy, comprising on inhaling hyperbaric oxygen for about an hour each day is considered useful to deal with the condition.
- Avoiding aerosol sprays like deodorants can help in the treatment of lung inflammation caused by exposure to toxins. Using a mask while working can help reduce occupational hazards like asbestosis.
- Homeopathic drugs like Drosera and Antim Tart are useful in dealing with lung fibrosis. These drugs should be taken only after consultation with a trained homeopathic doctor.
- Simple deep breathing exercises are considered to be beneficial in improving lung capacity and thereby deal with low oxygen concentration. Yoga therapies like Pranayama and Anulom-Villom are very useful.
- A healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables help boost the hemoglobin levels, which in turn can improve blood oxygen concentration.