Healthy nails appear smooth and have consistent coloring. As you age, you may develop vertical ridges, or your nails may be a bit more brittle. This is harmless. Spots due to injury should grow out with the nail.

Abnormalities — such as spots, discoloration, and nail separation — can result from injuries to the fingers and hands, viral warts (periungual warts), infections (onychomycosis), and some medications, such as those used for chemotherapy.

Certain medical conditions can also change the appearance of your fingernails. However, these changes can be difficult to interpret. Your fingernails’ appearance alone isn’t enough to diagnose a specific illness. A doctor will use this information, along with your other symptoms and a physical exam, to make a diagnosis.

List of common nail diseases

Nail psoriasis

Nail psoriasis can cause nail denting or crumbling.

Brittle splitting nails

Brittle splitting nails, or onychoschizia, is a common issue that dermatologists see. The condition can cause brittle, soft, splitting, or thin nails.


Onychogryphosis is a condition where the nail becomes overgrown and thick, often affecting the big toe. It can cause one portion of the nail to grow longer than the other part.

Ingrown toenails

An ingrown toenail can cause pain and swelling, and in some cases, they can become infected.

Nail fungal infections

Nail fungal infections are a common condition that causes the nails to become thick, discolored, and easier to break. Nail fungus is more commonTrusted Source in the toes than fingers.


Onycholysis is when the toe or fingernail painlessly separates from the nail bed. It typically occurs slowly over time and could result from an underlying health condition or injury.


Paronychia is an infection that causes redness and swelling around the edges of a nail bed.

Consult our dermatologist if you notice changes in your nails. A medical professional can diagnose the condition and recommend suitable treatment.

If someone undergoes treatment for a nail disease and there is no improvement, or new symptoms develop, they should seek medical advice.