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 giving the nails their pinkish colour. The nail matrix has located the base of the nail and is responsible for growth.
The most common reason for a nail to become deformed is due to trauma, like dropping a heavy object or kicking something hard can be enough to damage the nail causing bruises, nail ridges, lifting, loss of the nail, or deformed growth of new nails due to damage to the nail matrix.
Nails can 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 an 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, thickened nails that 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 that can be inherited through family history or may develop in individuals who have problems with the lungs, heart, liver, or stomach and intestines.