The nails are a very sensitive part of the body and can change shape or deform depending on what is happening either directly to them, or elsewhere in the body. The visible part of the nail that grows out is called the nail plate, the nail bed lies directly beneath it and gives the nails their pinkish color, and the nail matrix is located at the base of the nail and is responsible for growth.
The most common reason for a nail to become deformed is due to trauma. Dropping a heavy object or kicking something hard can be enough to damage the nail and cause bruising, nail ridges, lifting or loss of the nail, or deformed growth of new nails due to damage to the nail matrix.
Nails may become thickened, brittle, and crumbly due to a fungal infection or conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, or poor circulation.
Horizontal lines in the nail plate, called Beau’s lines, occurs when the growth of the nail slows down temporarily due to trauma, infection, excessive stress, or illness.
Pitted nails look as though as ice pick made indentations in the nail plate and are caused by diseases such as psoriasis or alopecia areata.
Ram’s horn nails, or onychogryphosis, are nails that are thickened and grow in curled spirals much like a ram’s horn. This develops in individuals with conditions such as circulatory problems, psoriasis, and ichthyosis.
Spoon nails, or koilonychia, are nails that look like spoons where the nail dips in the center. It occurs in those with a chronic iron deficiency, celiac disease, or problems with the gut.
Clubbed nails are curved nails with thickened fingertips. They can be inherited through family history, or they may develop in individuals who have problems with the lungs, heart, liver, or stomach and intestines.
. (n.d.) Medical Dictionary. (2009).