Spooned nails are nails that appear thin with an indentation in the center so it looks like a drop of water could be held there. The edges of the nail curve up and the nails may have an irregular wave-like appearance. We’re told our nails reveal a lot about our health. Sometimes a change in our nail’s shape or color is a sign of a medical problem. Other times, it just may mean we haven’t been treating them very well.
What are the causes of spooned nails and what should be done about them?
The most common medical cause of spooned nails is an iron deficiency that may or may not have progressed to actual anemia (a lower than normal red blood cell number). A blood test to check both iron levels and red blood count should be performed. Occasionally, too much iron in the blood causes spooned nails.
Raynaud’s disease, lupus and thyroid disease may be a cause of spooned nails but they would not appear as an isolated sign of those conditions like with an iron deficiency. Spooned nails would be noted in conjunction with other symptoms your doctor finds.
Raynaud’s disease causes the blood vessels in the hands and feet to constrict, limiting oxygen to these areas which can be seen first with white then bluish color changes to the skin. Raynaud’s disease often occurs along with other illnesses such as lupus, which is an immune disease, and thyroid disease, which causes hormone imbalances. Nail-patella syndrome can also be a cause of spooned nails. See my article at www.empowher.com/skin-hair-amp-nails/content/nail-patella-syndrome
Other causes of spooned nails:
Non-medical causes of spooned nails might be due to an exposure to petroleum-based chemicals or some type of trauma or injury to the nail, especially if you see the spooning in only one nail or one hand.
What to do:
Seek medical care so you can be evaluated and have lab work done to check blood levels of iron, red blood cell count, thyroid disease or other immune problems.
Spooned nails will improve but it will take many weeks for the nails to grow out. Keep nails trimmed and filed to avoid other damage to them during this period.
Treat nails gently.