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When you look at your fingernails, do you see small depressions or dents in your fingernail? While they may seem like just a nuisance, they may be indicating there is something wrong. Several conditions may cause dents in your fingernails.
A skin condition called psoriasis causes plaques on the skin, which are build-ups of dry, rough and thick skin. These plaques can develop anywhere on the body, though common locations include the buttocks, knees, scalp and elbow.
Besides causing plaques, psoriasis can also result in dents in the fingernails and toenails. Patients with psoriasis can have flare-ups of symptoms, which can occur when they are sick or upset, or have a skin injury, severe sunburn or little exposure to the sun.
Consuming large amounts of alcohol may also trigger symptoms. Treatments for psoriasis include anthralin cream, steroid cream, tar preparation, salicylic acid cream and vitamin-D-like cream.
A type of reactive arthritis, Reiter syndrome occurs in response to a bacterial infection. Patients experience swelling and pain in the joints, as well as inflammation of the urinary tract and eyes.
The joints commonly affected include the feet, knees, spine and ankles, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Women tend to have milder symptoms compared to men.
Treatment for Reiter syndrome includes several different types of medication, include antibiotics, immunosuppressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids and tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.
Alopecia areata is a condition characterized by hair loss, but may also cause dents in the fingernails. With alopecia areata, patients lose patches of their hair, usually hair on the scalp.
Patients with alopecia totalis lose all the hair of their scalps, while patients with alopecia universalis lose all of their body hair.
MedlinePlus noted that if the hair loss from the disorder is not widespread, then patients may regrow that hair in a few months, regardless if treatment is used.