Deformed Toenails

What Causes Deformed Toenails?

Deformed toenails can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'worrying'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose deformed toenails, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "deformed toenails" as a symptom.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Fungal Infection
  • Zinc Need
  • Candida / Yeast
  • Psoriasis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
spacey/unreal feelings
sinusitis
diuretic use
pain medication use
non-vaginal candida
green/greenish fingernails
difficulty swallowing
moderate alcohol consumption
bowel movement changes
many white spots on fingernails
meal-related bloating
frequent soy consumption
... and more than 60 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of deformed toenails:
Cause Probability Status
Psoriasis 92% Confirm
Zinc Need 28% Unlikely
Candida / Yeast 3% Ruled out
Fungal Infection 3% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate abnormal fingernails and toenails, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Are any of your toenails deformed, not from past injury? Toenails normally grow straight and smooth, the same width from top to bottom.
Possible responses:
→ No / it is due to injury / don't know
→ Probably/minor episode now resolved
→ Major (unsightly) episode now resolved
→ It is a current problem, not serious
→ Current major problem, unsightly and embarrassing
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate history of deformed toenails, deformed toenails or very deformed toenails, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Psoriasis
Nail abnormalities are a possible symptom of psoriasis.
Zinc Requirement
Distorted nails are a common symptom of zinc deficiency.

Related Questions

Fingernail/Toenail Symptoms