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.

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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 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:
  • Psoriasis
  • Candida / Yeast
  • Zinc Need
  • Fungal Infection

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:
high alcohol consumption
H2-blocker antacid use
chronic nausea
black/brown fingernails
discontinued calcium supplementation
pain medication use
refined white flour consumption
coughing up white/yellow curds
regular hangnails
zinc test tasteless
copper supplementation
difficulty swallowing
... and more than 70 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
Zinc Need 95% Confirm
Fungal Infection 13% Unlikely
Candida / Yeast 5% Ruled out
Psoriasis 1% 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 for unknown reasons? Toenails normally grow straight and smooth, the same width from top to bottom.
Possible responses:
→ No / it is due to injury or cutting / 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:
Zinc Requirement

Distorted nails are a common symptom of zinc deficiency.

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