Ridges in Fingernails, Toenails, Vertical, Horizontal, Vitamin Deficiency, Treatment

cropped Leukonychia

What causes vertical or horizontal ridges in finger nails? Are ridges in fingernails vitamin deficiency symptoms? Get more insights on the causes of horizontal and vertical ridges in toenail, fingernails, treatment and home remedies.

Nail abnormalities are common and they include; ridges, white spots, discolored, brittle and spit nails among others. They can attribute to various conditions, trauma or nothing to worry about at all. There are two main types ridges; vertical and horizontal.

Vertical ridges (longitudinal): These are tiny raised lines that run up and down the length of the nail. They are the most common and mainly caused by trauma, underlying medical condition and aging. Most people come to notice of these small raised vertical lines while aging.

Onychorrhexis is the medical term for describing vertical ridges on the nails especially when they associate brittle nails.

Horizontal or transverse are depressions in the nail does not really imply ridges but a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. Examples include; heart attack, diabetes, infections and metabolic problems.

Causes of Ridges in Fingernails

Here are some of the main reason for ridged nails:

  1. Mineral and Vitamin Deficiency

Malnutrition is the improper nutrients intake that leads to mineral and vitamin deficiencies in the body. This type of condition is also called malabsorption where nutrients are not properly getting absorbed into the body.

Lack of relevant mineral iron and vitamin the body can lead to ridges in fingernails and toenails. They include the following:

B vitamins: These are very important elements in the body since they help in promoting cell growth. Vitamin B-12 enhances the growth and strengthening of nails.

Iron: Ridges in both fingernails and toenails can be caused by lack of iron in the body. This condition is known as koilonycia.

Vitamin C: This helps in preventing the skin and nails against infections. Vitamin C is commonly found in most fruits and vegetables.

Zinc and Calcium are very important mineral irons that helps in the development of body cells and tissue. Insufficient amount in the body can cause ridges in fingernails and toenails as well.

  1. Aging

As people age and so does the body cells. That implies that there is little or no growth and replacement of old and worn out tissues. Nails also get affected due to lack of oil secretion in the nail bed and cuticle as well.

  1. Insufficient Moisture

Low moisture content in the skin causes dryness of nails, hands and cuticle. This can be brought about by use of hash products while washing, manual works and harsh environmental condition.

Other that nail ridges, lack of moisture also causes cracked brittle nails, discolored nail beds and split cuticle.

  1. Diseases and Conditions

Underlying medical conditions can cause nail problems such as white spots on nails, ridges, cracking and brittle nails. Example of such diseases is psoriasis. Ridges in nails can also be a symptom of nail fungus infcetions.

Vertical Ridges on Fingernails

Small raised vertical lines on the fingernails are common and they mainly get pronounced with age. According studies, there are many reasons for longitudinal ridges and the most common one is aging. As people age, the nail matrix becomes atrophied in areas hence vertical lines.

Vertical ridges that are evenly spaced over the whole nail are so common and have been found to be harmless. The inability of the nail to retain moisture due to old age associates this type of nail problems.

Lengthwise lines can also be due to certain vitamin deficiency and poor nutrition. Injury and underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis are also the main reason. Formation of a single vertical streak in your nails should raise more concerns since in most cases this is a sign of tumor developing at the root of the nail.

Lichen planus is a rare condition that mostly causes skin rash and it can also cause vertical ridges on fingernails. This type of ridges appear and forms very quickly and pronounced within a short period of time.

Ridges causes a bad appearance of the nail and no want to have them. That makes most people to buff them off. This is not the right thing to do since ridges forms the thinnest spot on the nail. Buffing can exacerbate splitting of your nail hence pain, discomfort and risk of infection and loosing of nail.

Horizontal Ridges in Fingernails

These types of line on the fingernails are signs of serious diseases in the body. Single instance of horizontal ridges may imply that the body immune system is fighting the disease while recurrent ones might point to a chronic disease such as kidney, lung or liver diseases that need serious medical attention.

Beau’s lines is a type of condition whose symptoms include indentations across the nail bed. This condition may be due to uncontrolled diabetes, high fever such as pneumonia, measles, scarlet fever and mumps, peripheral vascular diseases and zinc deficiency.

Fingernail Ridges Treatment

There are a number of ways on how to get rid of fingernail and toenail ridges. These ranges from self-help treatments to the use of natural ingredients.

  1. Nutritional Diet
  • Balanced diet: This should comprise proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and mineral irons. Take food rich in nutrients to avoid malnutrition and malabsorption.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: These type of fatty acids have antioxidant properties that help in the elimination of free radicles from the body. A great source for omega 3 fatty acids is fish and nuts. Incorporate them in your diet for healthy nail appearance.
  • Water: water is very important in the body systems. It also ensures proper hydration of the body tissues. Take sufficient amount of water to enhance proper functioning of the body organs.
  1. Nail Care and Hygiene.
  • Nail protection is recommended to avoid breakage and damages that cause ridges in fingernails and toenails. Wear gloves while handling manual labor. Avoid contact with strong chemical irritants.
  • Good nail hygiene by ensuring that they are well trimmed, clean and dry. This prevents tearing and nail fungus infections.
  • Moisturize your nails by use of hand and nail moisturizer regularly especially after washing.
  • Buffer your nails gently with slight pressure and this will soften the appearance of ridges. Do not apply too much pressure since it cause breakages.

Home remedies for Ridges in Fingernails – How to get Rid of

You can prevent or minimize the appearance of ridges in fingernails naturally by use of home remedies. They include the following:

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has strong antifungal properties suitable for tackling nail and toe fungus. It also form a barrier against moisture to the nail hence inhibiting multiplication of fungus.  Apply on the affected nail, finger or toe three times a day.

Lemon Juice

Lemon is both antifungal and antibacterial agent that can help in treatment of related infections. Mix fresh lemon juice with little amount of iodine. Apply on the nails three times a day to get rid of fungal infection symptoms.


This is a strong antifungal ingredient suitable for ridges in fingernails. You can crush a fresh garlic clove and apply directly at the affected area or you can mix it with a base oil such as olive or coconut oil.


Yoghurt contain Lactobacillus acidophilus suitable for the treatment of nail fungus. Apply on the nails and let it dry for 15 minutes before washing and drying thoroughly. Apply twice or thrice a day for effective outcome.

Lavender Oil

This is a suitable remedy for nail fungal infections due to its antifungal properties. Besides that, the oil also forms a protective later that helps in protecting the nails against moisture that forms a suitable media for fungus.

Tea tree Oil

Apply tea tree oil at the affected area to inhibit fungal activities. Tea tree oil possesses antifungal properties.

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