A couple of my fingernails are curling downward as they grow.

Patient: A couple of my fingernails are curling downward as they grow. Is this due to a poor diet?

Optional Information
Gender: female
Age: 60
Already Tried: nothing

Doctor: Fingernail changes are due to SO many things, it is hard to say without a picture.

But in general, if your fingernails are strong, but curling this is less of a concern than if they are weak and “bendy”.


Curling down is very much associated with respiratory problems- asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and the like.

Iron deficiency will produce pale nails which can curl.

There are many other causes-

See this site at Mayo-


There has not been shown that any dietary change can produce real changes.

However, it depends on what exactly is wrong.

In general, protein, calcium, Vit, B and C have all been used to give better nail health.


You want to be examined- think of the nails as the windows to your body-

Some blood tests or even a chest Xray may be needed (esp if you smoke).

After this- you can rest easy than nothing major is wrong.

Feel free to ask anything else regarding this-

I am happy to add more color where you think it may be relevant

Patient: My nails are not weak or bendy. It is just within the last year that they have started to grow in this curved way. I have no respiratory problems although I do smoke. My mother’s nails did the same thing in her later years and she never smoked.

Doctor: It may be nothing- but with a history of smoking, you just want to make sure the lungs are OK. That is numero uno.

Aside from that, simply checking the nails general health and related lab tests if needed is the next step.

I misspoke- it is NOT just when they are weak and bendy that there is a concern with curling. Typical curling nails with lung disease (called clubbing) usually show thicker curling nails.

Make an appointment and ease your (and my) concerns.

The best to you

73 Replies to “A couple of my fingernails are curling downward as they grow.”

  1. I have a toenail that is bending over, is there a way you straighten it back out over time?
    Thank you.

  2. i have my fingernails bending over and weak,what could be the problem.

  3. I have noticed for awhile now that my middle fingernails bend and they are not that long…they are soft …I thought it was from years of biting them previously …but as a smoker and reading about curved nails was wondering if its worth visting my doctor!

  4. My nails curl also, I have actually gone to the doctor about it and been tested and what I found out is that it was a vitamin d deficiency. I have only been taking the vitamin d for a couple of months now and I can notice a little change but not much as of yet. And by the way I am a smoker also and my doctor knows this so I don’t think it has anything to do with smoking.

  5. My fingernails have curled over the ends of my fingers most of my life. I was diagnosed as asthmatic at age 19 (I’m now 55). my fingernails are pink, but without the little “half-moon” shapes at the bottoms (except my thumb nails). One thumb nail is very strong and solid; the other one tends to separate and peel. Most of my nails have longitudinal stria (lines and ridges). I recently began taking a women’s multivitamin, which seems to have fixed the peeling/separating of the one nail, and some of the stria seem to be smoothing out. Most of the nails still curl over, though, either in the center (ring fingers) or to the inside (medial) sides of the nail. At least, now I understand the curling, so thank you! 🙂

  6. I have a very similar issue with my nails that Mystica talks about, so similar that I could have written her comment myself. I always thought I was alone in the world. However, I was never diagnosed with any kind of breathing disorder. I have had this problem with my nails for as long as I can remember and I am in my mid 40’s. I would include pics in my comment but don’t see that its possible so I will very descriptive about my nail conditions. I do not have much of a half moon on my nails either except for the thumbs. The other nails have just a tiny sliver at the cuticle. My index finger nails curl on the thumb side of the nails while the other side grows straight. My middle and ring finger nails are wide and flat and curl around the end of the finger tip. I wouldn’t say they are clubbing though as my fingers themselves are not wider at the tip than the rest of the finger. My nails also have the raised lines running the length of the nail from the cuticle to the end of the nail. I do not have any indentations in the nails however. My nails are somewhat strong but are also thin. Thin enough that you can kind of see through them. I always thought they should be solid in color and not opaque. I am embarrassed by them at times. I usually keep them cut short but I do like to try to grow them out a little until I get frustrated with them only to cut them short again. I have tried several times to wear fake nails, but because of their width and the way they naturally grow, fake nails usually pop off after a few days. Are these issues due to a vitamin deficiency as well? If so, which vitamins am I lacking? Or is this an indication of a more severe health problem thats been undetected for my whole life?

  7. My nails are strong but have recently started to curl as they grow out. I just had a baby about 10 months ago and I am breastfeeding him. That’s the only medical change in my life. I am not a smoker and do not have any know lung problems. Do you think this is from breastfeeding? Am I not getting enough vitamins, that he’s getting them all through my milk and not leaving any for me? Any help would be super appreciated! Thanks!

  8. I have always had soft nails, and unable to grow them very long. but my work required me to have my hands in hot soapy water a lot. Now that I don’t do that job anymore. and my mails are growing longer now. 2 of them the nails are bending downwards. I am wondering! if you ever have had nail tips for full nail tip put on, and they were incorrectly applied. the use of a sanding wheel to ruffin up the nail beds so that the nails can be glued on better. I have since learned by a professional Manicurist that said Never Ever let anyone use the electric sanding wheel on your finger nails. as it will cause permanent damage to your nail beds. also the lack of gelatin in your system can cause you to have soft nails. Don’t know? but makes sense. don’t you think??

  9. My nails grow brittle as in they break or splinter rather. They don’t grow longer than 2mm over the edge. I don’t have half moons. My middle finger on the left it’s hard to describe but the bottom part of the nail separates from the top. The rest of my nails. One edge of the fingernail curls in, the right side of all of them, so my index finger nail curls in on the thumb side and the middle fingers and little fingers. I am prepared to post pictures.

  10. I also have some curling of my finger nails on one side, but only on my index fingers. The nails on all of my other fingers are fine and grow straight. I don’t smoke, I don’t have asthma or any respiratory problems. Though I do suffer from allergies and have a hole in my septum, which cause or aggravate nasal and sinus problems. I am prone to sinus infections, etc.

  11. I have a few fingernails on each hand that grow normal but begin to curve at a certain length. I just want to say that this can be caused by trauma, too. Mine are all fingertips that I have accidentally hit with a hammer before. They grew normal as a child so I know that is what caused it.

    I want people to know they don’t always have to assume they’re sick just because of things like this. You could have had something happen to your hand and forgot, even having it shut in a door or window. I’m not saying it’s NOT from a disease, but think hard if anything (such as my case) has happened, before trusting the internet. So far, the only thing I have found to help is to keep them just shorter than the length of when they usually begin to curve; other times, I really don’t care. They’re just nails, they don’t define you, people.

  12. My fingernails started curling about 10 years ago, when I was in my mid-50’s. I have no respiratory problems. I have always been very conscientious about my health and diet, taking nutritional supplements when needed. So the nutritional suggestions don’t seem to make a difference with me either. Here is an interesting phenomenon about my nails curling, however. They aren’t always curled and sometimes they straighten out again even within the same day. I first noticed them curling right away soon after something I ate one day. I had eaten some day-old summer Kimchi–a dish, using fresh cucumbers, fresh yellow onions, sesame seeds and sesame oil, sea salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. At the time I was seeing a herbal nutritionist in New Zealand. I went to see her soon after. She was not available at the herbal pharmacy, but another woman was. When I talked with her about it. She first said that fresh onions spoil more quickly than other veggies do. She then asked me if my nails ever straighten back out again? I had not thought to check. Since then I do watch them more closely and they sure do…..sometimes, sometimes not. I think my curling has something to do with my digestive enzymes or acids, because I have noticed that my nails tend to curl more frequently when I eat leftovers, especially cooked veggies. OR sometimes they will begin to curl when it is time to eat and I am late eating! Go Figure!!! So I have taken enzymes and I have taken HCA but it doesn’t seem to help consistently. Also, my middle fingernails always begin to curl first….esp, on my right hand. If I don’t get them corrected somehow, seemingly by my diet, then the ring fingernails begin to curl….like others have commented, they will curl in toward my middle fingers. Whereas the middle fingernails always curl straight under. Next, it’s my forefinger nails and the baby fingernails that curl in. My thumb nails have not curled yet. It is crazy and annoying that I can feel them curling, or that they have curled. When that happens, I always have to cut them. My nails have been thin and flexible at times and harder at time–it doesn’t seem to matter when they curl. I continue to seek answers, but so far I have not talked to a healthcare professional or read any health books that address this issue satisfactorily. This is the first site, even, where I have found others who share my same complaint. I have not talked to an acupuncturist about my nails, but I wonder it there is a meridian in the body that runs from the middle finger to the gut????

  13. I have read a lot of info about curving nails and I keep finding lung problems like COPD. Since I have no lung problems and don’t smoke, I read on. Only my index nails seem to wrap around my finger (I cut them before they get weird) toward my thumbs and otherwise, I seem to have healthy pink nails. Then it came up, iron deficiency. Yep. I do have iron deficient anemia and have struggled with it my whole life. So to anyone out there who doesn’t have lung problems, that could be it. Iron deficiency can be helped by just taking a multi vitamin, or talking to your doctor and getting an iron pill.

  14. I used to have nice nails until 10 years ago.

    I’m now 65 & have very pronounced ridges running from cuticle to the tip of the nails.

    The moon’s have disappeared except for my thumbs and pointer nails. The all curve in different directions as they grow out especially the pinky on my left hand which curves right around the finger tip. If I let them grow out, I’d have corkscrews! No kidding.

    I’ve just read it can be caused by an iron and/or B complex (particularly B12) deficiency.

    I’ll be getting both tomorrow and hope it helps. I thought it was worth sharing.

  15. I’ve been searching all over. My nails are normal while short and then as they grow out the outside thumb nail curves inward the other side straight the rest of my nails grow straight then curve downward. It hurts to wear fake nails so I just keep them short.

  16. I have the curling down with my middle 3 fingers on both hands. My left hand only shows half Moon on thumb.
    My right hand shows half moon to all fingers except pinky.
    I do have issues with anemia, fatigue, poor diet, due to constant back pain from degenerate disc and osteoartheritis.
    I take multiple vitamin and supplements, including 40,000 IU of vit D weekly.
    The clubbing has become bad in past 6 months.
    I have chronic sinusitis, mostly in morning.
    No breathing problems, O2 levels are 97 and above each time I get it checked.(every 2 mo).
    No cough!
    Sometimes, I have unexplained low grade temp. Only 1 degree above normal, but I figured hormones. I’m 52 yes of age, and not normally sedentary, but occasionally, my energy level causes a couple of days to a week each month.
    I do have small dime size nodules in thighs, (hip to knees) buttocks and forearms that are painful, sensitive to touch and increase in size IF I don’t take my Tumeric on regular basis. I’ve wondered if that could have anything to do with my nails and energy level.

  17. the thumbnail on my right thumb is growing down to the base on the left side. None of my other fingers are like this. What causes this? also my nails are thin and brittle and break or splinter off real easy. I have one nail on my right forefinger that grows good but curves down on right side.

  18. Hi well I have three on each hand that are crucial down what can I do .

  19. This may sound strange, but make a fist and look at what your nails are doing in that position.

    My nails are just like Sharon described hers. I notice that the index and middle curve toward the thumb and the ring somewhat towards the piny and the pinky straight over the end of the finger. Thumb does not curve at all.

    When I make a fist, my nails are pressed into my palm in exactly the way that they curve. I thought it is from either sleeping with my hands in a loose fist, or from holding tools or utensils in this fashion, which eventually bent the nails.

  20. Have any of you with curled nails looked into hypermobilty of joints. It is one of the signs of EDS, a connective tissue problem.

  21. I’m 60 and 2 years ago asked my Doc why 3 of my nails are curving. Now they all are except thumbs. He told me its because Im old. Umm he’s in his 70s. Btw.
    I also asked him why my middle toe was numb for over a year now he said its because I wear flip flops!! 🤔🙄
    Been going to him for many years. Think its time for a new Doc. What do you think?
    BTW haven’t had a cigarette in 8 years

  22. I have had wavy nails, asthma, and dermatological issues my whole life. Recently, I started taking a Myo-Inositol & D-Chiro Inositol supplement for PCOS. A happy surprise was having my nails start growing normally and some of my skin issues heal. Passing this along in case it helps someone else.

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