Ridges on Fingernails & Toenails

Kearney, MO(Zone 6a)

I read the post on cracks in fingernails, but haven't seen my topic discussed yet.

I did a search & found it's a health issue. The advice was to see a naturopathic Dr. They charge $350 for the first visit & don't take insurance.

I know this a common problem & I'm hoping someone took a supplement or "ate" something that helped.

I started taking liquid minerals, but I'm sure it hasn't been long enough to notice any difference. I do take LOTS of other vitamins.

Thanks for any suggestions - ANY suggestions. I'll try just about anything at this point.


Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

What do the ridges look like?


Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Here's another article that talks about nail conditions. I sometimes have ridges. And this article suggests B12 supplements or injections.


Also, check your nails for the cresent moons at the top of your fingernails. Each finger should have the half moon. My "moons" disappear frequently so I have to work on resolving that.

I take a B-complex that helps with the ridges and makes my nails stronger and grow faster too.

brainerd, MN(Zone 4a)

Don't take B6.
Nails take 6 months to completely grow out. If the ridge is in the middle area, it was something that took place 3 months ago - and so on.
Your GP should be able to anser your questions.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

you don't say if the ridges run cross wise or up and down, or if the nail is discolored also? Sometimes a fungus causes ridges and there may or may not be discoloring at first.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

BK, your own doc could help. And you don't really have to see a naturopathic doc. Go to the health food store and the manager there has probably seen many cases like yours and will know what will work. They'll answer your questions and you can buy the product from their store or go to Walmart and get it if it's a common vitamin.

Kearney, MO(Zone 6a)

Thanks so much for all your suggestions & websites. I should have mentioned the ridges are vertical. They look similar to the ones in the website, only my ridges are more pronounced. One toe has a fungus (for the first time), but it's getting better. It isn't soft anymore, but it's thicker & has deep ridges. Most of my fingernails have half moons. I work outside a lot, so I don't do manicures & should probably at least push my cuticles back. Most of my fingers have hang nails - some of them on both sides.

I have the best Dr. in the world, but he likes to take his prescription pad out. When I tell him I probably won't take that, he will suggest a healthier alternative.

I order vitamins & other things (organic teas, hair products, etc.) from Vitacost, so I never thought about asking at a health food store. We have a very good one not too far away, so I will talk to them too. I will definitely add B12 to my handful of vitamins.

I do have something good to report. EVERY day I feel the ridges. Today I noticed 2 fingernails (one on each hand) are almost smooth. There is 1 ridge only on each fingernail & it is on the side. It's been about 10 days since I started taking liquid minerals, magnesium citrate & CQ10.

Since I was concerned about hair loss, I started taking Saw Palmetto & IP-6 (Inositol Hexaphosphate), probably 6 mos. ago. They're WORKING!!! Lost of new growth. Whether these are helping with my fingernails, I'm not sure. But I'm not going to quit taking anything to find out.

I'm in my early 60's. I don't buy it when people say, you have to expect these things to happen when you get older. Something is out of whack!!! It's up to us to find out what it is and people like you who take the time to help. Thanks again.

If I continue to see changes, good or bad, I'll report back. This appears to be a common problem.


springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I started putting coconut oil on my toenails and it helped them alot. I used REAL coconut oil, it is pricey but it lasts a LONG time. I also use it on my face. Love it. Instead of taking an oral prescrip, my dr prescribed a cream for my son's toe which has a fungus. The fungus was so bad they removed one toe nail and now they are going to remove the other. I have no idea why they are like that, he never goes without shoes, hardly spends much time outside and NEVER goes barefoot. He is autistic and he has a thing about having to have his feet covered...take his socks off and you can't budge him across the floor 1 inch! So fungus is not necessarily caused by being exposed to dirt. Of course being a boy, he does not use nail polish, which is another idea that causes fungus by weakening the nail. I suspect that maybe not getting enough air to his toes may be the culprit, but then again many times he just wears socks, no shoes, so he would still get a lot of air to them. Who knows, but once it sets in firmly, hardly nothing will get rid of it.
Since yours are verticle however that doesn't sound like a fungus as much. ? His ridges are horizontal on the nail, almost like he has layers of toenails growing on top of eachother. I know sounds gross !
I have heard that gardening without gloves can result in nail problems as being exposed to stuff in the soil. I try to wear gloves and wash often when I can.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Fungus thrives in damp dark places, like a mushrooms and mold. Painters are prone to nail fungus due to the chemicals they use so frequently. I think it's not only because their hands are wet so much, but also because the chemicals interfere with the body's natural bacterial system.

Wearing shoes can cause fungus to go crazy. Feet sweat in shoes and shoes are dark places. So add a little moisture in that dark environment and keep the feet constantly covered and you've got the perfect home for fungus. Going barefoot actually helps clear it up. Also the fungus does not need air to thrive so it can live a long time. It imbeds itself UNDER the nail and invites all its friends too. That may be why the doc removed the nail--to get to the root of the problem.

Also remember, the fungus spores are still living in his shoes. So when he puts the same shoes back on, he's welcoming the fungus back. There may be a fungicide that you can spray in the shoes.

If at all possible, have him wear sandals or flipflops or even those clogs with the ventilation holes all over them. His feet need to air out. If you can get him to go without socks as his toes heal, that would help too. The more open air he gets to those toes, the quicker the fungus will subside.

brainerd, MN(Zone 4a)

I know that you can use (original/plain) Listerine (or generic) to get rid of athletes foot - I don't remember if it works for fungus too or not. If I remember correctly, I believe it does help. Mix it 2/1 with hot water and use it as a foot soak. 15 minutes - should start to clear up fairly quickly.

As far as the ridges on the fingernails (vertical), have your Dr check your thyroid levels. Sometimes low levels can cause this (per my endocrinologist).

And for both, try Tea Tree oil directly on the nails and surrounding tissue.


Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Dr Oz recommends a tea foot bath for strong, persistent foot odor, which is caused by fungus from wearing shoes all the time in which the feet sweat. You just make tea as you normally would and pour it into a tub and soak the feet. The first week or two, you do it everyday, then you can taper off to every other day and then once a week and then less often as the problem lessens. His site, www.doctoroz.com , probably has the info.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I swear by Vicks Vapo Rub smeared on the fungus toenail every night. It sounds stupid but it really works. Apparently the idea is that the oil in the rub soaks into the nailbed and blocks air from reaching the fungus so it basically dies off. I had a problem for almost 8 years with just one toe and after hearing about the Vapo Rub, I applied it every day for about 6 months and the nail slowly cleared up as it grew out. I have heard that Tea Tree Oil also works. The trick is consistency; you have to use it EVERY DAY. My nail was real bad, white, chalky, deformed with a high ridge down the center and it would hurt sometimes. Have not had a problem with it since it grew out almost 2 years ago. Looks completely normal now.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Nail fungus does NOT need air to grow. That's why it can grow UNDER the nail and UNDER nail polish.

I just quit wearing shoes and let my feet air out and stay dry. As my nail grew out, the fungus disappeared. I never used Vicks rub on my toe since it's a moist environment that perpetuates the fungus.

This message was edited May 4, 2011 9:53 AM

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I stand by my statement and the evidence is attached to my foot. It worked very well for me but I will not engage in an argument about nail fungus. ;)

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

An interesting article about cures:


Toni, I was merely mentioning that the fungus doesn't need air to thrive. It may be the eucalyptis or camphor in vicks that worked for you, but many more report it doesn't work, which leads me to believe that the actual underlying issue was inadvertently taken care of. Any fungus represents some imbalance in our bodies that make us more susceptible to these fungi, viruses and infection.

I remember when I was growing up, we were told the old wives tale that if you rub a wart with a dish towel and then bury the towel, the wart will fall off. Well, that may have happened a time or two for someone, but it was just coincidence. A wart is a symptom of the herpes virus and the virus has to be gotten under control. We all have the virus in us, as evidenced by the occasional wart, cold sore, etc. But our bodies usually combat the virus effective so we have no symptoms of it. However, when our immune system is compromised, we become susceptible to warts or cold sores temporarily. When we repair our immune systems, these symptoms often remedy themselves.

I believe that is what has happened with my toe fungus. I never had one before, but then I got terribly sick and became susceptible to it. Once my health issues were resolved, my immune system was able to fight the fungus with a little common sense help from myself (keeping the area dry to prevent the environment the fungus loves).

Any illness or stress in our lives weakens our natural immune system, making us more susceptible to any disease. So one thing to look at when something unpleasant is happening is what's going on in our lives at the time. Are we stressed? Are we eating the wrong things? Do we get the right vitamins? Etc. I'm generally healthy, but I know just about anytime I've gotten sick or had some unpleasant symptom, my immune system was compromised by something in my life. I didn't put two and two together at first, but after lots of research, I've come to see the correlation. Toni, if you think back, can you see any stressor in your life at the time of the fungus? I'm not arguing with you. I'm just curious. I've become highly in tuned with my body after some serious illnesses, chats with docs and natural health professionals and lots of research. So now I pay attention to how my life is when I do get sick. I'm having to learn to handle stress since I see its affect on my body. It's really true that our physical, mental and emotional health are all tied up together. Neglecting one damages the others.


springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I have tried all kinds of natural remedies and otc things for mine and nothing works. I have tried soaking it in natural apple cider vinegar, pouring rubbing alcohol on it every day, and using coconut oil, which worked wonders for the skin and my other nails, but certainly did nothing to get rid of the fungus. It could be the menthol or whatever it is in Vicks that killed the fungus, I might try it, certainly doesn't cost much and shouldn't hurt anything to try it. But so far nothing like that has budged it. Best thing I have found is to just keep the nail trimmed back as much as possible, keep it covered and clean. It is already compromised so I take measures to not let it get infected. So far it only causes mild discomfort off and on so I haven't used any kind of prescription on it. My son's however has deformed the nail badly and it has been oozing with infection. Like I said he keeps the area very clean and it is always covered, so why it keeps getting infected, who knows. I am sure the moisture contributes some, but once he is home from school he only wears socks, so I don't know. Fungus loves a moist environment, so changing to dry socks a couple times a day may be a good thing also. Best thing we ever did was take his other toe nail off, he has been 2 yrs now w no toe nail on his r foot and we love not having those issues anymore. I should also note that the first toe nail went bust after he injured his toe on a rock. I believe it was directly related to that. However this toenail has had no injury that I am aware. He does however have alot of body tension and walks with his toes tightly curled under which I am sure stresses the nails badly. Most of his toenails grow rounded into the skin and are hard to trim. They have horizontal ridges on them from being bent under. There is nothing to be done about that.

I have been sick all winter and I usually am hardly ever sick. My husband got a new job and moved out, I am here to fix up the house, put it up for sale and when the kids get out of school in July I am moving in w him. Also been trying to move most of my garden plants that I want to save as well as having sick kids and trying to move and pack everything a little at a time. Under a lot of stress so I am certain that is why I have felt so lousy this year.
I also suppose otc or home remedies may or may not work depending on how severe the fungus is, and what type of fungus it is? "fungus" is really a generic term and I'm sure there are many varieties that can set in, some more stubborn than others...

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Frilly, the type of shoes can matter too. My slick leather garden clogs cause more sweat than my canvas hiking boots. I kick them off as soon as I come in the house.

Also, the nail fungus can appear to be gone, but it's actually lying dormant, waiting to reactivate. So even if your toe appears to be completely healed, you could have a setback. I did once.

Dr. Oz also recommended alternating shoes--don't wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. They may appear dry, but contain some moisture. He said wear one pair one day and another pair the next day to give the first pair time to fully dry out.

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