Why do I have ridges on my fingernails?


We asked Health Renewal’s health expert why we get ridges on our fingernails and what they could mean. Here’s his answer.


It is indeed true that certain signs on the nails may indicate an underlying health issue, however vertical ridges on the nail (running from the nail bed to the tip of the finger) does not have any association with illness.

Many healthy people have these ridges on their nails and it is thought to be caused by differences in cell turnover in the nails.

Horizontal ridges (running from side to side) and pitting of the nails are associated with a period of illness or poor nutrition during the time of the nail growth. They normally grow out of the nails completely when health improves or nutrition is improved.

White spots on the nails may be associated with a Zinc or vitamin B6 deficiency, but can also be caused by minor trauma to the nail (even from little bumps to the nail)


Do you have a health question? Don’t be shy, go on and ask your question here!


9 Responses

  1. A question: My nails a dark and others are pink. They grow a whitish layer inside. They also have small holes outside. Part of the nail has blackish vertical half line and the other half is dark.

    1. Hi Tefo, we asked Dr Maurits to answer your question, and here is his reply:
      Thanks for your question Tefo. There are several causes of darkened and discoloured nails, some of them more serious than others. Unfortunately your question does not give me enough information to give you a definitive answer. The most common cause of darkened nails is physical trauma to the nail itself. The entire nail can become black and will then eventually fall off. In most cases the nail will then regrow normally. Pigmentation bands in the nails are very common in people with dark skin and is called melanonychia. Pigmentation bands in the nails tend to persist and don’t go away, but are not considered dangerous. There is one very serious condition that needs to be ruled out which may look similar to a pigmentation band, and that is melanoma of the nail bed (subungual melanoma). I would suggest that you go to a Dermatologist just to rule out anything serious. Pitting of the nails (little holes) can be caused by several health conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, nutritional deficiencies, chronic illness and more. If it is occurring on one nail it may be the result of trauma, but if all the nails are affected it definitely is a sign that there is an underlying health problem.

  2. I have always been curious about the vertical ridges and white spots on my nails. Now I know!

  3. My vertical ridges are more pronounced than other people and I just didnt notice until a friend decided to compare nails. LOL. The white spots tend to come and go. I guess my white spots are due to bumps

  4. I used to get white spots, so now I know I need to up my zinc and vitamin b intake :)

  5. I have vertical ridges on my ring finger and pinkie – it doesn’t bother me too much and if I need to disguise it I simply apply a few coats of nail polish – I am glad to know that it is not illness related in any way.

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