Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

The state of a person’s health is reflected by their fingernails. Conditions ranging from kidney disorders to thyroid disease can cause changes in the nails. A common change in the nails is the appearance of vertical or horizontal bumps on the nails. Although these bumps on the fingernails are mostly harmless, one still needs to know the underlying cause and get it treated to make their nails healthy, strong and pretty again. Have a bump on your nail? Go through the following article and know all about bump on thumb nail, causes and treatment.

Common Causes of Bump on Nails

Injury: Trauma to the nail or nail bed is the most common cause of bump on the nail.

Thyroid Disorders: Changes in thyroid medication dose and thyroid hormone blood levels can also affect the nail growth and lead to the development of these bumps on the thumb nail.

Skin Conditions: The living skin cells in the fingers create fingernails. So skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can trigger the formation of bump or ridge on the nails too.

Skin Dryness: The bump on the nails can also form as a result of skin dryness. Even the deficiency of protein, vitamin A, zinc or calcium can cause fingernail ridges.

Serious Causes & Symptoms of Bump or Ridges on Nails

Vertical Bumps on Nails and Its Causes: Vertical ridges are furrows that start from the tip of the fingernail and run down to the cuticle. They are also termed as longitudinal striations or bands. Slight vertical ridges in fingernails mostly develop in older adults due to a slowing of cell turnover. This occurs when new skin cells produced under the surface of the skin rise up to replace the dead cells which are discarded from the surface. If other symptoms like changes in the colour or texture of the nails are experienced, then the nail ridges can be caused by a medical condition. In 20-nail dystrophy, or trachyonychia, the nail ridges can be accompanied by a change in nail colour, or increased roughness or brittleness of the nail. Vertical ridges and changes in the nails, which make them spoon shaped or concave, can also be triggered by iron deficiency anaemia.

Horizontal Bumps on Nails and Its Causes: Mostly, deep horizontal ridges or Beau’s lines on the nails are symptoms of a serious condition. The underlying condition can actually stop nail growth until treated. Acute kidney disease can also be present if Beau’s lines appear on the nails. Further, if Beau’s lines develop on all the 20 nails, then it can indicate conditions like diabetes, mumps, thyroid disease, or syphilis. Chemotherapy can also lead to Beau’s lines. Trauma to the nails can lead to the formation of brown or red spots under the nails. But if dark brown, black, or red colour changes appear under the nails without experiencing any nail trauma, it can be a sign of a serious condition, like melanoma or endocarditis.

Diagnosis of the Cause of Bump on the Nails

For nail damaged in an injury, one should let the affected nail and finger heal for a few weeks before deciding to visit a doctor. However, the individual should see doctor as soon as possible if the injury caused a crushed nail, ragged or clean cut through their nail, bleeding under the nail, or tearing of the nail. The doctor should also be consulted immediately when noticing any sudden serious changes in the nails. To diagnose the underlying cause of the nail bump or the nail ridge, the medical expert would first examine the nail and ask the patient about the symptoms they are experiencing. If kidney disease, nutritional deficiencies or diabetes are suspected to be causing the nail bump, urine and blood tests would be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. If a skin condition seems to be causing the ridges, a treatment plan can be started without any delay. However, if the doctor is unable to identify the cause of the nail ridges, a sample of the finger nail clippings may need to be analyzed for signs of infection.

Treatment of Bumps on Nails

Since bumps on the thumbnail and other fingernails are generally signs of other health issues, the treatment for these bumps or nail ridges depends on the underlying cause of the changes in the nails. For instance, ones who develop Beau’s lines due to diabetes can reduce the horizontal fingernail ridges simply by controlling their blood sugar.

Treatment for skin conditions like eczema includes application of moisturizers on the hands or topical ointments to decrease eczema symptoms and thus getting rid of the bump on the nails. For ridges caused due to deficiency of minerals or vitamins, making healthy dietary alterations and taking supplements to boost the nutrient levels can help to get rid of the bumps on the nails. The nail bumps can also be smoothened by buffing the fingernails with an emery board. However, the nails should never be pressed too hard to avoid any further damage. The advice of a dermatologist should also be taken on how to treat the nail with the bumps or ridges.

Prognosis of Bumps on Nails

Although fingernails ridges are generally a normal sign of aging, it is still very important to pay attention to them and other nail changes as these may be the first signs of a serious medical issue.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 14, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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