Toenail Changes – What Do They Mean? Everyone knows that a cough, pain or, for example, a rash is a reason to plan a visit to the doctor in your busy schedule. Unfortunately, most of us are not aware that the symptoms of various diseases are not always so obvious. There are health problems, the first signs of which can be recognized by observing the nails. Their fragility, brittleness or not very aesthetic appearance do not always indicate the need to perform a manicure or apply a special mask on the hands. Sometimes we can read from them much more important information about our health.
Vertical and horizontal furrows on the nails
Furrows are longitudinal depressions that appear on the nail plate. They can be caused by many ailments. There are vertical and horizontal furrows.
Vertical furrows on the nails are the most common ailment of the elderly and are caused by keratinization disorders. These disorders arise as a result of a deficiency of magnesium, calcium or zinc. They can also be a sign of dehydration, cardiovascular diseases, problems with the thyroid gland or hormonal disorders.
Horizontal furrows on the nails may arise as a result of long-term stress or the use of strong chemicals. If the nails are in frequent direct contact with detergents, they are exposed to irritation, weakness and damage. Horizontal furrowing also occurs as a result of vitiligo.
Wavy nail plate
The wavy structure of the nail plate can be the result of covering the entire nail with furrows – both vertical and transverse. When single furrows appear, they are likely the result of a past infection and will disappear over time. If they cut the entire plate, it is worth consulting a specialist. It will help us find the cause of such changes.
A wavy nail plate may be the result of the use of more and more popular hybrid nail polishes. This condition is caused by the mechanical damage that appears when the varnish is removed immediately after it has been weakened by the action of acetone.
Dents on the nails
If there is only a dent or depression on one nail, it is most likely the result of damage to the nail plate and is not a cause for concern. If dents appear on several nails, it is worth checking what caused them. Numerous cavities are most often a sign of psoriasis – a skin disease that belongs to the group of autoimmune diseases. They can also be a symptom of another disease in this group, i.e. alopecia areata. Arthritis is another condition that causes dents on the nails . This is especially true when it is chronic or psoriatic.
Rolls on the nails
The sometimes appearing hills on the nails are the opposite of dents and depressions. In this case, it is hard for them to be caused by mechanical damage. They are most often the result of a long-term life under high stress and weakening of the organism. At such moments, the body focuses its energy on other processes, which causes irregularities in the growth of nails. It can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies, which are replenished in an uneven and sudden manner. After receiving a large dose of vitamins, especially in the form of a spot conditioner, hills may appear on the nails .
Beau’s lines on her nails
Beau’s lines are the transverse furrows on the nails. Such grooves may cut the entire nail, creating the impression of a wavy plate or appear singly. Beau’s lines appear most often on the toenails of the thumbs and big toes, however, they can appear on the toenails of other toes.
Transverse grooves on the nail plate may appear primarily as a result of mechanical damage, but they may also be caused by numerous systemic diseases. Beau’s lines on the nails can be a symptom of, among others, diabetes, circulatory disorders, diseases with high fever. The furrows clearly show when the body has focused all its efforts on fighting the disease rather than on the growth and structure of the nails.
Beau’s lines on the nails – treatment
First of all, choosing the right method of treatment in the event of such abnormalities is to adapt it to the cause of the appearance of the Beau line. If you notice that your nails are showing disturbing changes, you should consult a doctor and, depending on his recommendations, apply an appropriate remedy.
If the cause was mechanical damage, then it would be a good idea to strengthen the nail plate and ensure the supply of adequate vitamins. The inequalities will even out over time. If the problem is a disease such as diabetes, the doctor will select the appropriate plan to restore the body, and nails, to good condition. Only a doctor will recognize the real cause of the Beau line on the nails and treatment can be adjusted accordingly.
Sometimes changes appear on the nail plate in the form of white, double lines parallel to each other. These are the so-called Muehrcke lines. They were named after the doctor – Robert Muehrcke, who first described them in the British medical journal. Such a change usually affects several nails, rather it does not occur individually.
The exact cause of Muehrcke’s nails is as yet unknown. It is certain that these changes are not caused by damage to the skin or nail plate. However, they are associated with a shortage of a protein called albumin found in human blood. This protein plays an important role in the transport of hormones, vitamins and drugs around the body. Most often, therefore, the Muehrcke lineage is attributed to a symptom of liver diseases.
The change called Mees bands is an ailment very similar to the Muehrcke line, except that the lines appear singly in this case. They can appear both on the nails of the fingers and toes. As the nail grows, they move closer to the end of the nail plate and disappear completely over time. If the cause of the Mees line is not removed, the next line will appear.
Mees bands are most often caused by heart or kidney failure. They can also be caused by poisoning with arsenic, thallium, or other heavy metals.
Terry’s nails are a condition when the nail plate resembles a matte, milky glass. They are then opaque. The distal part of the nail, where the nail plate separates from the fingertip, is a darker, 1-2 mm pink strip. Such changes can be a sign of old age and are not a serious problem. It may happen, however, that Terry’s nails indicate a serious disorder or disease.
The reasons for the occurrence of such changes may be, among others diabetes, liver disease or heart failure. Terry’s nails can also be a symptom of serious eating disorders during severe diseases of the small intestine and certain eating disorders of a psychological nature.
Daily hand and nail care
It is not always possible to prevent certain diseases or diseases. However, it is worth focusing on limiting the availability of harmful factors and their impact on our body as much as possible. In the case of nails, it is good to ensure that they do not have direct contact with detergents and to provide our body with the necessary vitamins responsible for the proper growth of the nail plate.
It is important to use only the services of certified beauticians when deciding on manicure services. A person with the right knowledge will be more aware of their actions and more careful. Then we will not expose our nails to unwanted mechanical damage. In addition, she will be able to notice changes that indicate more serious diseases more quickly.
How to react to the changes on the nails
If you are sure that the change is a mechanical damage, don’t worry. This may be the case if you notice a single dent on the nail due to some minor trauma. Then, most likely, regeneration will occur by itself. Sometimes, however, it is more difficult to determine the cause of a given change. It is always a good idea to consult a doctor who may decide to issue a referral for basic or specialist tests. If he determines the cause of the changes on the nails, he will be able to adjust the appropriate treatment plan.