Nail Ridging

Ask the Raffles Medical Group Experts


Recently I noticed that my finger and toe nails have slight ridges in them. Is this an indication of some underlying health problems?


Nail ridging can be either longitudinal or transverse. Longitudinal ridging extends from the cuticle to the tip of the nail and is fairly common. It is not normally a sign of health problems and can increase as you age. In individuals with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and peripheral circulatory disorders, longitudinal ridging may be accentuated.

Transverse ridging which extends from one side of the nail to the other may occur in conditions such as eczema, paronychia (inflammation of the nail fold) or psoriasis. If you have gone through a serious illness recently, transverse ridges or grooves known as Beau’s lines may appear due to a temporary interruption to nail growth at the time of the illness. These lines normally grow out in time and are no cause for concern.

If your nail ridging is not an isolated finding and is accompanied by features such as nail fold swelling or pain, I would recommend a visit to a dermatologist for a thorough evaluation.