Fingernail striations or nail ridges is common among many people. Striation on nails does not necessarily mean an indication of disease. It can occur as a person grows old. Nail ridging is considered to be an aging process. Usually there are fine vertical striations present on the fingernails that we cannot see with naked eyes, they become more pronounced with an advanced age.
Though vertical striations on fingernails are normal, horizontal striations or ridges are significant. They may indicate underlying health condition such as a cardiac disease or hypertension and skin conditions or Raynaud’s disease etc.
What Causes Ridges In Fingernails?
As mentioned earlier fingernail striations besides being a normal aging process, can also occur as a result of certain conditions.
- The striations can appear as a result of injury to the nail bed. For example, when the finger gets trapped between the doors or a direct contusion to the nail bed can cause ridges on the nail.
- Striations can indicate low calcium level in the blood as well as other mineral deficiency. It also indicates protein and vitamin deficiency.
- Certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, lichen planus or eczema may affect the nails secondarily, giving rise to characteristic clinical appearance in the form of nail ridges.
- Transverse fingernail lines are also called Beau’s line. It is named after the person who described it. These grooves occur in most nails at the same time. Beau’s lines are caused by severe illnesses that can interrupt normal nail growth. Severe illnesses such as pneumonia, peritonitis, liver disease can cause transverse grooves on fingernails. Arsenic poisoning is rare today, but it can manifest as horizontal striations on the fingernails.
Fingernail Striations Symptoms
- Since fingernail striations are symptoms of the underlying disease, they may be accompanied with other symptoms of the disease. Locally with nail striations there may be skin infection, discoloration of nail or an infection in the nail bed. A thin fluid or pus may drain out from the nail bed.
- Together with grooves and ridges, the nail may become dull, weak and brittle. Fingernail starts splitting at the end.
- Since one of the causes for striations is malnutrition, there may be associated weight loss, fatigue and loss of skin elasticity.
- If the cause is trauma, the fingernail may be painful. In dry climate or due to lack of moisture, the hand and nails may become dry.
Diet For Fingernail Striations
Since vertical striations of the fingernails are normal and due to growing age, there is not much that you can do to prevent it. However, for transverse ridges that are pathognomic resulting from vitamin and mineral deficiency, a healthy diet and lifestyle is beneficial in preventing fingernail striation.
- Start with adequate hydration of the body. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water in a day. It keeps your skin and nail well moisturized.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Milk is good source of calcium. Drink one glass of milk two times in a day. Besides milk, calcium is also found in other dairy products such as cheese and butter. Calcium helps to strengthen the keratin present in the fingernails and makes the nail strong.
- Eat green vegetables and fruits, both contain vitamin C. The keratin in the nail becomes strong with vitamin C consumption. Kiwi, strawberry, grapefruit, cantoloupe arrange are good for healthy fingernails.
- Include zinc and iron containing foods in your diet. Pumpkin seeds, beef, pork, green leafy vegetables, prunes, broccoli are foods that keeps your nails strong.
- Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and refined and canned food.