Curved nails can be harmless, or reveal a health problem to be treated. It’s that the fingernails can tell a lot about his general state of health. Like nail psoriasis or Raynaud’s disease. Wavy nails are not always a cause for concern, but it may be a good idea to see a doctor. If nail changes accompany other symptoms, it is important to seek treatment quickly.

Here are the types of nail curvatures and other nail changes that may need monitoring.

Curved Nails: Types of Curves and Other Changes

Part or most of the nail may curve outward, away from the nail bed. For example, a person may have one of the following conditions.

spoon nails

Like a spoon, the nails become so soft and curved that they can hold a drop of water. Doctors often call this koilonychia. This problem can occur in newborns, but it can resolve itself without requiring treatment. In other cases, and in people of other ages, koilocychia can indicate health problems, such as iron deficiency anemia.

Nails that curve at the end

It involves the thickening of the tissue under the nail, which causes the fingertips to round and the nails to curl over them. Doctors believe it results from increased blood flow to the fingertips. This phenomenon can be hereditary and harmless, but it can be due to a health problem, especially if it occurs later in life.

Nails that curve to the sides

Toenails that curve far inward at the sides are called ingrown toenails. This condition can affect the toenails and can be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, especially in the toe box. Ingrown toenails can also result from improper nail trimming. In some cases, the treatment may consist of removing part or all of the nail.

Curved nails: other nail problems

Nails can become crumbly or brittle due to:

– a fungal infection
– lichen planus, an inflammatory skin disease
– thyroid disorder
– psoriasis of the nails

Small bumps and pitting can also appear in the nails, which can result in:

– eczema
– psoriasis
– reactive arthritis
– alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that often leads to hair loss

Main causes of curved nails

Nail curvature sometimes stems from an underlying health condition. It can be a temporary problem, like a fungal infection, or a chronic one, like psoriasis. Here are some of the most common causes.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron helps maintain healthy cells, skin, hair and nails, while iron deficiency can be caused by:

– an underlying health condition
– pregnancy
– periods of high activity
– a diet low in iron

Besides bent nails, some common symptoms can be observed:

– pallor
– fatigue
– weakness
– rapid heart rate
– pounding sensation in the ears
– headache
– hair loss

Treatment for iron deficiency anemia may involve:

Eat foods richer in iron

These foods include beef, pork, lamb, liver, broccoli, kale, collard greens, beans. Taking a high-dose supplement: A doctor may recommend or prescribe a high enough dosage. About 90% of people with psoriasis develop this condition on their nails at some point. Besides curvature, symptoms may include thickening and shallow or deep holes in the nail.

Raynaud’s disease

This rare condition affects the arteries, causing them to periodically narrow and block blood flow to specific parts of the body, usually the fingers or toes.

As a result, fingers and toes can:

– become pale or white, then bluish
– be numb, cold or sore
– throb, burn


This genetic disorder causes the body to absorb too much iron from food. While a person typically has about 1 gram (g) of iron in their body at any one time, this condition can cause a buildup of 5 grams or more.

Besides bent nails, symptoms may include

– hair loss
– discoloration of the skin
– weightloss
– early menopause
– joint pain
– abdominal pain
– liver dysfunction
– sexual dysfunction
– weakness and lethargy

Hemochromatosis can damage the liver, heart and pancreas. Without treatment, it is possible to show signs of iron toxicity in your thirties and the disease can be fatal. Treatment involves regular blood sampling until iron levels are within the normal range.

Dietary changes may also help.

Systemic lupus erythematosus

This chronic disease can cause inflammation and pain in any area of ​​the body. About 1.5 million people in the United States have some form of lupus, while systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common type. Symptoms of this autoimmune disease can worsen and subside. Beyond nail curvature, they can include:

– tiredness
– Rashes
– joint swelling or pain
– fevers
– sensitivity to sunlight or fluorescent light
– lung problems

Treatment usually focuses on suppressing the immune system using medication.

When to see a doctor for bent nails

It may be helpful to speak with a doctor about persistent and noticeable nail changes. It is especially important for a person to see a healthcare professional if other symptoms are present. A doctor will identify the underlying problem and advise on the best treatment. Nail changes, such as curvature, sometimes result from an underlying health condition that requires treatment. However, these changes are not always cause for concern.

If the curvature of the nails is accompanied by other symptoms, it is necessary to seek treatment.


Haemochromatosis. (2018).

Hands, feet & nails. (2020).

Ingrown toenail. (2018).

Iron. (2020).

Iron-deficiency anemia. (nd).

Lupus facts and statistics. (2016).

Nail abnormalities. (nd).

Raynaud’s. (nd).

Sood, R., et al. (2013). Diagnosis and management of hereditary haemochromatosis.

Starace, M., et al. (2018). Nail disorders in children.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). (2018).

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.