Nail Care

Lesser Known Causes of Dents in Fingernails

Nails are basically hardened skin cells infused with keratin protein. Dents in fingernails are an indication of underlying health problems, and can give us a clue to those issues. While diet, trauma and iron deficiency are the most common causes of dents in fingernails, there are even lesser known causes of dents in fingernails.


Knowing about these causes of dents in fingernails can help us to be aware of the condition so that early diagnosis and treatment can be sought out.. The various types of dents and their underlying causes are discussed below.

Muehrcke’s Lines

 These lines appear in transverse pairs that are white colored and spread horizontally along the nail, and seen in parallel. The causes behind the appearance of these lines are:


  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Low levels of albumin


Beau’s Lines

 These are ridges that appear horizontally on the nail plate. The disease conditions that are associated with these types of dents are:


  • Systemic infection
  • Chemotherapy treated patients
  • Diabetes
  • Nail injury
  • Malnutrition
  • Raynaud’s disease


These lines disappear once the patient recovers from these illnesses.

Terry’s Nails

 People with these nails have a white nail plate with a horizontally placed dent placed closely to the finger tip. The illnesses associated with these dents are:


  • Diabetes
  • HIV infection
  • Kidney disease
  • Cirrhosis


Mee’s Lines

 These are white bands of lines that can affect more than one nail. But the good part is that the bed of the nail is not affected and therefore the condition will not get worse with the nail’s growth. The illnesses associated with these dents are:


  • Arsenic poisoning
  • Serious systemic diseases



 These lines appear in half moon shape and are white colored seen at the base of the thumbs. This section of the nail can sometimes turn blue and this condition is called Wilson disease or silver poisoning. It can also turn red at sometimes indicating these illnesses:


  • Heart failure
  • COPD
  • Carbon dioxide poisoning
  • Psoriasis
  • Liver cirrhosis


These are the lesser known causes of dents in fingernails. 

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