Vertical nail ridges


I was reading Martyn Hooper 's story on the PA society site and remembered why PA , amongst so many other possibilities, seemed possible some two years ago ( before my MS diagnosis). There is a checklist on the site, and you get 'extra points', if you not only have brittle nails but vertical ridges. Two years ago, I had what I thought was very weird, vertical ridges, just one on every other fingernail. Nowadays, I have several on each fingernail, and now appearing on my big toenails.

Looking on the Internet, they seem to be associated with rheumatoid athritis, thyroid things, or just getting older- which I am clear I have no indications of. Actually, that sounds daft, I am 42, but not as I understand it old enough for my nail beds to be receding to show the natural ridges of the nailbed. Mine are very clearly an abnormal keratin ridge, quite high above the rest of the quite normal, rounded nail with some 'beaded' patterns, like candle wax drips.

Do others with actual diagnosis of PA have these or is it just Martyn? No disrespect to him intended at all, but it is not clear whether this is just his personal experience, (and he may have other auto immune issues that this is associated with), or that this is actually an indicative symptom of PA. Any help appreciated.


8 Replies

  • Quick check: all ten of my fingers have ridges going from cuticle to tip. It's one of the 'odd facts' I mention when talking about odd symptoms of the deficiency. I was diagnosed 16 months ago and thought they would have started to go away by now. I'm 50.

  • I have ridged nails and suffer from B12 deficiency - though not clear what the underlying absorption problem is. The nails had been brittle as well and I think the brittleness has certainly decreased but wouldn't like to say that the ridges are less.

    Know nails take a long time to grow out. Just speculating but may be the ridges are caused by something happening in other cells in the finger tips as nail is really a deposit rather than a tissue. Unlike hair follicles they probably don't fall out on a regular basis so the mechanism for replacing them may be different and may take longer. My hair has definitely thickened up since I started taking B12.

  • Hi, I was first diagnosed with B12 deficiency 20 years ago (but do not have PA - have recently found out the family has an MTHFR gene mutation) I have had vertical ridges in some of my nails for as long as I can remember - they also break easily, although have improved recently.

    My hair also frequently falls out and has got thinner over time, unfortunately this doesn't seem to have improved!

  • Thanks for the replies. I know that b12 is part of building keratin, so relates to hair and nails growth, the same as it is used to make the myelin round nerves. Any disruption in supply, or in how your body uses it, the 'methylation process' I think, results in shoddy work! As my diagnosis is MS I asked my neurologist if my ridges related to that. He was very blunt that there is no Ms connection. I am still use trialling b12, as I might have both issues going along. I am still curious whether others with diagnosed b12 deficiency of any type, have the ridges?



  • I'm curious about this too. I've had fragile, easily broken nails (people laugh at me always carrying nail clippers!) with vertical ridges for as long as I can remember. I mentioned this to the doc some 20 years ago and was told I should take a calcium supplement. I have done this more or less ever since but it hasn't removed the problem.

  • I have vertical ridges too. I've often wondered about them. I've had them for years (at least as early as my early 30's). I have avoided asking docs about them because I'm sure they already think I'm a hypochondriac, and I've only seen mention of horizontal ridges being important.

    I hadn't heard about any connection between vertical ridges to thyroid or RA, but I have been thoroughly screened for both of those things and I have neither. I usually have pretty poor circulation in my hands and I wonder if that could be a factor. My fingernails occasionally turn blue or purple and my hands are usually cold.

  • Yep, I have PA , antibodies tested to confirm. I have ridges in my nails . it is interesting because I must have been B12 deficient for many many years according to my doctor , my pre treatment level was 74. I have now developed the ridges , not sure whether it is the deficiency or the treatment of the deficiency which relates to the ridges but I am certain they are related.

  • I'm blue ridge. From the Past. I will try to get you my thoughts. Its Endocrine pancreatic insufficiency. EPI. Both parents of nothern european origin contribute a gene.

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