Fingernails, and the story they tell

All of my fingernails are pitted, they always have been, this is a tell tale sign of Psoriatic Arthritis and was an important means of diagnosing me as I do not have Psoriasis. Most are deeply ridged, though some are still smooth. Spooning is when they are wavey on the tips. Not only does the Rheumatologist use these as a way to diagnose, but the Allergy Specialists and acupuncturist also look to the fingernails to determine our health. Are yours unusual in any way?

Yeah mine have lines or “ridges” going through them. They run the length of my fingernails.

My nails have ridges that run length wise. Also, the skin around my nails and in the first joint are red. My palms are always red in some areas too.

My nails look like I have Lupus looking at my hands When I go for my appointments with my Rheumotologist, she is always looking at my hands, and my nail beds.


The nails of my ring fingers (both hands) have length-wise ridges.

What does ridged nails mean, if anything?

What do you mean by pitted?

I don't know what 'pitted' means but all my fingernails have very obvious ridges going/running through them. The ridges are too deep to buff smooth. I asked my Dr. about this and he said I must have a vitamin deficiency but didn't know what. I went to a homeopathic practitioner and was told to add 2000mg of fish oil tablets to my vitamin regime. Well.....I have been taking the fish oil tabs for 9 years now and the ridges are STILL there. The only difference I have found is that my nails have become very very hard and grow really fast. My nails are now so hard that I can use them as a screwdriver..!! I might add that it's most difficult to trim them.

Dents, usually round looking.

I also have ridges in my nails and I haven't always had them. My Rheumatologist has never looked at my nails. They seem to be getting worse over the past few months. I have tried smoothing them out but then they begin to split were the ridges were. I wish someone could give us an answer and a solution to correct this if possible.

Please bring that to the Doctor's attention. Could be a vitamin you are lacking or something more important.

Thanks SK! I will do that the next time I see him. I've always had really nice nail and find this really annoying.

I think it's odd that your rheumy has never looked at them. How can he rule out something like psoriatic arthritis w/o looking at them?

My nails are ridged, slightly pitted (2 fingers), wavy at the top of one fingernail, and one nail is splitting at the ridges. We all share similarities - I wish docs could tell us what it means.

SK, I'm curious, what can allergists tell from nails? That's intriguing.

My Rheumatologist told me that the pitting (dents, round indented marks) on my fingernails was a sign of Psoriatic Arthritis. All of mine are pitted, my son's are too. I have given him a copy of my diagnosis from my Rheumatologist and highly suggested he see one as most of the discs in his back are shot.

He went through a proceedure while in his late 20's at Pain Management where they shot a gel type substance in his back to pad the vertebrea as a replacement for the discs. He is having problems again.

This is a bit different than what I was told, but here is some info from the May clinic. I have the nail seperation on my two big toes. No fun, I have to kind of operate on them every couple of weeks.

Just make sure you make the Rheumatologist aware, please do not try to diagnose yourself, but I never had any idea that the pitting could be a sign of disease, it was always present, so I never thought anything of it. BTW my nails do not look as bad as any shown on any of the photos.

My nails split all the time; there is no need to file my nails. If by ridges you mean you can feel bumps as you roll your a fingernail over a nail, then yes I have ridges. So what now?

I feel so badly for your son. He got a bum rap in his 20's with his back. Can he have the same procedure done on his back again? Because he must be in terrible pain without having any padding back there. I cringe even thinking about the poor guy and his predicament. I hope he takes up your advice and sees a rheumy soon, but men can be so stubborn about pain and sickness, thinking it makes them less manly if they admit to any vulnerability.

I have to admit - I'm glad your toes don't look like what they show on the net, SK. Some of those photos are absolute horrors and someone should have the sense to edit the worst of them off or put them in an area with a "graphic photo" warning first, because they must freak out newly diagnosed people.

Your toenail separation sounds horrible. Painful. Makes me feel all googly in the stomach. I'm sorry you're going through this. It can happen again, too, can't it? Gawds. I don't know how you stay so stoic with something so painful.

I'll go and look at the Mayo site. Nope, I'm done with dxing myself, just gonna tell the rheumy my concerns, based on family history. Not expecting much out of the upcoming visit. Had my hopes dashed for a dx and cure too many times. Will be happy if he can just definitively say that it's fibro. If he can't even peg it down to that then I'll be beyond frustrated, because that begs to ask, "what IS it???"

Hi, everyone! Jenni here. I have always had real nice nails. When I was a kid I was told to put Knox gelitan in juice of some kind and it would make my nails strong. I started doing it when I was about 11 or 12. I have always loved red, crunchy apples and being a horse person shared many an apple with a horse, LOL. Then I learned that pectin was made from apple peels(jello 'gels' because it is made with pectin)! I love to slice and core apples and eat them with cheese of some sort for breakfast. Well a few years ( HA,HA) like 8 or 10 I noticed my nails starting to have those ridges lengthwise from the quick to tip. I thought it was from some medication I was taking. I too use a buffer to smoothe out the ridges and when the ridges get real noticable buffing them causes them to weaken then break easier. If I eat an apple like, say 3 to 4 days a week the ridges don't get so severe. As with everything with us fibro folks - it doesn't work with everyone, but it sure is tasty to try out. When I get wild and crazy when I have a couple bucks Mad Money ( Mad because its all the $ I have LOL) I buy a small chunk if brie. It is just the BEST with apples! I also take flaxseed & fish oil caps, 1kind one day the other kind the next day. If you have trouble taking pills get a liquid vit. Not only is it easier to take but a pharm. friend of mine told me that the body absorbs the liquid better and faster. If you have problems sleeping and have that sleep aid hangover the next morning try valerian root. I can't see the per cap amt. but it says on the lable to take up to 3 30 min. before going to bed. Because of my huge sensitivity to any meds, I only have to take one. Then I usually can sleep for up to 5hrs. straight! That is a major amount of solid sleep for me.

Hope this helps some of you. I try alot of the non-med help I hear from others on the fibro support groups. One thing I have to say to all --- STAY AWAY FROM CYMBALTA, PLEASE, I tried to kill myself (gun under chin) in 09 and I blame it on that evil drug. Even the people who get some help from it admit it causes NASTY side effects!! Out of 640 comments I read about maybe 10 or 12 said nothing bad. Most could say NOTHING good.

Soft Hugs to ya'll Jenni

My Rheumatologist sent me a large, detailed questionairre, and it was much easier to complete it at home than just having it thrown at you in the office. So if you did not already receive one, be ready to complete it there on the spot. I took mine to the GP and had him help me fill it out.

You're right, my first rheumy sent me one too. But I don't think he even looked it over. So why have me fill it out?

I hope new rheumy is a little less "tone deaf." Even a little bit of information would be a great thing. (IS THIS FIBRO????? )