Nail & Skin Disorders

What Are Spoon Nails?

Spoon nails are a common nail abnormality that can be easily overlooked because the mildest cases are hard to recognize. But be observant; early detection can alert clients to the early stages of a more serious medical condition.

<p><strong>koilonychia:</strong> an abnormality of the nail that causes the nail to be flat or concave and the outer edges of the nail to flare out; also known as spoon nails.</p>

We’ve all heard that the fingernails are the windows to our health. This means nail technicians may be the first to notice signs of health problems in clients. Your professional perusal could alert clients to conditions they wouldn’t ordinarily take note of. Of course you can’t make an actual diagnosis, but if you see something abnormal, you can urge your client to see her doctor.

A good case in point is with an abnormality called koilonychia, or spoon nails. Spoon nails are a condition where the nail bed is flat or concave and dips or waves are visible on the surface of the nail. The dips and waves are actually in the nail bed — but since the natural nail is attached to the bed, the abnormality affects the nails. This condition is often harmless to clients, but it could be an indication of a more serious health problem. By being aware of the overall health of each client’s nails, you’ll have a baseline to refer to if you suspect a client has developed spoon nails.

In mild cases of koilonychia, nails appears to have a wavy texture — just a soft roll to the nail plate. The nails will be healthy and strong, and the surrounding skin won’t be compromised. In more severe cases, the nails have a spoon-like indent in the middle, and the center of the indent will be deep enough to hold a few drops of water. Often the nail is split vertically down the center. At times, the sides of the nails fl are out, the skin under the nail can become very dry, cracked, or split, and the hyponychium can thicken.

<p>In severe cases of koilonychia, the nails have a spoon-like indent in the middle. Often the nail is also split vertically down the center.</p>

The causes of spoon nails vary. The condition can be hereditary. When this is the case, multiple nails will be affected with some sort of a concave dip. The indent will grow out, but the new nail will have the same indents. Sometimes spoon nails are due to a client continually picking, biting, or rubbing her nails. When that is the case, only the nails the client has damaged will show signs of koilonychia. The damaged nail will grow out and a healthy nail will grow in its place if the client hasn’t damaged the matrix (root) of the nail when she picked.

Severe trauma to the matrix of the nail can also cause koilonychia. This is probably the easiest form of spoon nail for the tech to identify, because only one nail will be damaged, and the client will be able to remember an isolated incident when it happened (since more than likely it caused severe pain). In this case, the nail may or may not grow back normal. If the nail begins to split as it grows out, suggest the client see a doctor before continuing to cover the nail with an enhancement. The split nail could trap bacteria or fungus, and applying product over the area may cause harm.

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