published Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Ask a Doctor: Are ridges on my fingernails anything to worry about?

Q: Are ridges on my fingernails anything to worry about?

A: Ridging of the nail can be longitudinal or transverse. Multiple longitudinal and parallel ridges are a normal phenomenon in aging and can involve multiple nails on the fingers and toes. These ridges and grooves are thinner and weaker areas of the nail, resulting in splitting or tearing of the nail edge. Transverse ridges result from trauma of the cuticle, such as biting. These will grow to the edge of the nail and can be clipped away if the injury is of a temporary nature. Ridging alone has no medical consequences. However, if other nail changes are present, such as a loosening or distortion of the nail, it can be associated with underlying disorders such as psoriasis or liver disease. Biotin has been touted to be of benefit, but no adequate clinical trials have been performed. Nail lacquer and a new prescription product of poly-ureaurethane may be helpful.

-- Dr. Rodney C. Susong, dermatologist;member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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