Leukonychia of the Nail

The nails on our fingers and toes protect the end of the finger and allow us to perform finger activities. Nails are made up of two parts: the nail plate and the skin underneath. The nail plate is the hardest part of the nail. The skin is actually tissue. Neither of these two parts is unhealthy. However, both may need medical attention. If you suspect that you have one of these diseases, consult a doctor or a dermatologist.


There are several causes of leukonychia of the nail. The most common causes are systemic diseases and chemotherapeutic drugs. But other causes include nutritional deficiencies and underlying illnesses. The treatment for leukonychia of the nail varies depending on the underlying cause. In most cases, leukonychia of the nail is not a serious condition. However, it can be a chronic symptom of another underlying disease.

The most common symptom of leukonychia is discoloration of the nail plate. In many cases, the condition is caused by trauma, but it can also be the result of chemical exposure. Some common causes include manicure mistakes, cryotherapy of warts on the proximal nail fold, and exposure to heavy metals. But some people can develop leukonychia because of cirrhosis or chemotherapy.

Another cause of leukonychia of the nail is a genetic condition. A gene mutation may cause this disorder. It is sometimes inherited from one’s parents. If the affected person has the gene mutation, they may develop total leukonychia. This condition typically starts at birth or early childhood, but can also develop in later life. Another cause of leukonychia of the nail is matrix injury. This can cause white spots or dots on the nail.

Although the majority of cases of hereditary leukonychia are autosomal dominant, there are also rare instances of autosomal recessive inheritance. Frydman et al. were the first to describe autosomal recessive transmission of leukonychia totalis. Similarly, Norgett et al. reported the first autosomal recessive inheritance of leukonychia of nail. The genes that cause leukonychia were found in chromosomes 3p21.3-p22.

True leukonychia is a condition that affects the white portion of the nail plate. The condition can also be called pseudoleukonychia, due to a scaling of the nail plate. Despite the presence of a white spot on the nail, it is not a cause for alarm. As long as the affected nail is growing, pressure can help improve visibility of the vessels within the nail bed.


The appearance of a toenail is an indicator of underlying disease, and the appearance of koilonychia is no exception. It can be either congenital (present at birth) or progressive (occurring over time). Patients may complain of a spoon-like appearance, accompanied by a yellow-red discoloration. This condition is often treatable with dietary changes.

The condition typically affects the index finger, middle finger, and thumb of young children, but can also occur on the 2nd and fourth toes. It is often inherited, and occurs most frequently in individuals with iron deficiency. People who work in manual labor may be more susceptible to this condition, so it is important to consult with a doctor if you suspect it is affecting you. It is important to recognize the underlying cause of the condition, as it can be related to anemia.

Despite the many possible causes of koilonychia, no one can be certain for sure. In some cases, it is a symptom of another condition, such as an autoimmune condition, or a systemic problem. For this reason, it is necessary to consult several medical professionals in order to properly diagnose the condition. A primary care physician may perform preliminary testing, but it may require referral to other specialists.

A doctor should diagnose koilonychia by performing a physical exam. A specialist may suggest a blood test to check the iron level. Moreover, koilonychia may be a sign of an underlying disease or congenital condition. A physician should perform a diagnosis of koilonychia based on the clinical appearance and history of the patient.