What Do Your Child’s Nails Say About Their Health?

Have you noticed a change in your child's fingernails? Has the color changed? The shape? Healthy nails have a smooth surface and are consistent in color. Nails are a good indicator of general health and can warn you of health conditions before your child shows other signs. Continue reading to learn what to look out for.


Yellow nails are the most common discoloration people notice and is usually caused by a fungal infection. However, in some circumstances, the yellowing can be a sign of a serious condition. Thyroid or lung disease, as well as diabetes or psoriasis, can yellow the nails. It's important to remember that some nail polish can yellow the nails as well. Start by asking your pediatrician and ruling out fungal infections before you worry about more serious conditions.

A blueish tint to the nails can be a sign that your child isn't getting enough oxygen. This type of discoloration can indicate lung issues or even heart conditions, so you should take this color a little more serious than others.

Nail Deformity

There are some conditions that can cause the nails to deform. Sometimes age contributes to this, but other times it can be caused by medical issues. One such deformity is ripples in the nail. Psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis can cause this kind of nail defect.

Thyroid disease can cause your child's nails to become dry and brittle, leading them to easily peel or break.

A rather scary deformity to keep an eye out for is a dark vertical line, like a bruise, forming underneath the nail when no injury has taken place. Melanoma, which is a dangerous skin cancer, has been linked to this kind of nail defect. If you see this on your child's nails, you should get it looked at as soon as you can.

One other nail deformity is called spoon nails. This type of nail has a noticeable depression in the center of the nail bed. An iron deficiency or hypothyroidism have been linked with this type of nail deformity. You can ask your child's doctor about their nails and they may recommend some blood work to determine what is causing your child's spoon nails.

While any unexplained change can be disconcerting, it is not an automatic diagnosis of something more serious going on. However, it is never a bad idea to have it checked out just in case. If you are at all concerned about a change in your child's nails, seek medical advice from a pediatrician like Paul Bloom.