Grooves Across Fingernails

What Causes Ridges Across Fingernails?

Ridges across fingernails can have various causes, just like most other symptoms.  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 ridges across fingernails, 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 "ridges across fingernails" as a symptom.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Psoriasis
  • Zinc Need

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:
black/brown fingernails
history of deformed toenails
pitted nails
darker/redder skin color
coffee consumption
history of adolescent acne
non-human estrogen use
genital sores
H2-blocker antacid use
abnormal taste in mouth
much reduced sense of taste
having polyps
... and more than 30 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of ridges across fingernails:
Cause Probability Status
Zinc Need 96% Confirm
Psoriasis 74% Possible
* 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:
Do your fingernails have ridges or grooves going from side to side, across the direction of growth?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ A few / minor
→ Many / pronounced
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate grooves across fingernails, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Psoriasis

Nail abnormalities are a possible symptom of psoriasis.