Upward-Curving Fingernails (Spooning)

What Causes Upward-Curving Fingernails?

Upward-curving 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.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose upward-curving 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 "upward-curving fingernails" as a symptom.  For example, iron 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:
tongue soreness
H2-blocker antacid use
very pale fingernails
calcium-based antacid use
afternoon coffee/sugar craving
coffee consumption
brittle fingernails
... and so on

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of upward-curving fingernails.

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 curve upwards like little spoons?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ A little
→ Definitely
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either absence of nail spooning or upward-curving fingernails, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as Iron Requirement.  Low iron stores are the most common cause of anemia, but this condition is the last stage of iron deficiency.  Earlier signs of iron deficiency include spoon-shaped nails, fatigue, and poor immune function.
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