Recent Blog Articles
Heart disease risk: Partnering on lifestyle change can help
Can wearing contacts harm your vision?
Vegan and paleo: Pluses and minuses to watch
Postpartum anxiety is invisible, but common and treatable
Right-sizing opioid prescriptions after surgery
Ready for your routine medical checkup?
Nicotine addiction explained — and how medications can help
Is your vision impaired? Tips to cope
Misgendering: What it is and why it matters
Healthy brain, healthier heart?
By the way, doctor: What causes Beau's lines?
Q. You wrote about weak, brittle fingernails with longitudinal ridges. I have strong nails with horizontal ridges. What causes this, and what can I do about it?
A. You may be referring to Beau's lines, which are grooves that run horizontally across the nail plate. They usually develop when nail plate growth, which begins in the nail matrix (located under the cuticle), is temporarily disrupted. This can occur with direct injury to the nail matrix; an inflammatory condition such as psoriasis; infection around the nail plate; repetitive picking at the nails or cuticles; or even a manicure. Systemic causes include a common side effect of chemotherapy, nutritional deficiencies, illnesses accompanied by high fever, metabolic conditions, and diminished blood flow to the fingers (from Raynaud's phenomenon, for example).
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.