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Soft nails with a spoon-shaped dent are known as koilonychia.  These “spoon nails” often develop gradually.  Nails that are flattened are frequently the first sign of koilonychia.  Finally, an indentation appears.  On your nail bed, the indentation is deep enough to accommodate a drop of water.  Koilonychia typically develops as a result of an underlying medical problem.  In addition, if you have nutritional deficits like an iron or vitamin B deficiency, you’re more likely to get spoon nails.

What is the cause of koilonychia?

Most often, spoon nails are a symptom of iron deficiency anemia.  You may have an iron deficiency because you:

  • Can’t absorb iron.
  • Don’t consume enough iron.
  • Lose iron with excessive menstruation.
  • Have celiac disease, cancer or bleeding in your intestinal tract.

In some, koilonychia is hereditary.  It can also cause injury to the nail bed, like thumb-sucking in babies and toddlers or too-tight shoes in people of all ages.

Oftentimes, koilonychia indicates another medical condition.  It can be a symptom of:

Risk factors

Individuals who have a higher risk of koilonychia include:

  • older people
  • those who have low blood flow to their fingers and toes
  • women during menstruation
  • anyone with a higher risk of iron deficiency
  • people with lupus
  • people with an eating disorder or malnutrition
  • some people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • those who work with petroleum-based solvents

The underlying cause of koilonychia is treated by healthcare professionals.  Altering your diet or taking supplements can treat and prevent spoon nails if you have an iron deficit.  You may also need iron supplements.   Hence, your healthcare provider can advise if you need to take a supplement or make diet changes.

Are you suffering from this condition?  At The Chelsea Clinic, we can help.  One of our podiatrist can assist and then recommend what treatments are best to get you back on track. ✅ Podiatrist South Kensington
Schedule an appointment here or you may call us at +44 (0) 207 101 4000📞



We hope you have a feetastic day! 👣☀️

-The Chelsea Clinic and Team


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