Fingernail changes and Crohn's

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 5/10/2010 5:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone,

I have noticed over the past few years that my fingernails have started curving down slightly at the ends. My doctor says it looks like mild or early clubbing, which is linked to our lovely Crohn's Disease. It's not severe or anything and looks nothing like the pictures of clubbing I see online, and you can't really tell as long as I keep my fingernails short. Does anyone else have this problem?

Crohn's possibly since early 20's (bowel obstruction)
Colonoscopy 2008: small ulcers in rectum to 15cm
Small capsule endoscopy: ulcers in terminal ileum
Chronis RLQ pain, no diarrhea

Post Edited (AMinNJ) : 5/26/2010 9:54:50 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 506
   Posted 5/10/2010 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
My fingernails are clubbed, but, like you, it's mild and not really noticeable. During one of my early hospitalizations, one of the docs doing rounds looked at my hands and said I had it.
Diagnosed with CD July 2007
Currently on Remicade, Imuran, probiotics, folic acid, multivitamin.
Resection December 2009

Amor fati - Nietzsche

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1954
   Posted 5/10/2010 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
My fingernails fan out when I grow them a little longer. My toenails have very deep horizontal lines. The doctor said that's when my body shuts down growth to the nail because healing and energy are needed elsewhere during times of inflammation and flares. Usually these lines show up months later after the crohn's attack has passed.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/10/2010 7:49 PM (GMT -7)   
It seems to be something that doctors check for, I had this as well in the past when I was quite sick. It is nothing to worry about if you have it slightly, my doctor said when I asked why we was looking at my finger nails is that it is something they can look at and use it as bit of an indicator as to how the bowel is doing or digestion in general. He didn't really give me a big explanation but it is something along those lines.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6130
   Posted 5/11/2010 1:09 AM (GMT -7)   
its actually a bigger sign of something more serious.. heart and lung problems.. like COPD my dads got worse it was very pronounced.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 5/11/2010 9:25 AM (GMT -7)   
It's very reassuring to know that there are others here who also have this symptom. I had a chest X-ray and an MRI, PFT's and a complete cardiac workup, all showing nothing out of the ordinary, so the doctor is pretty sure the mild clubbing is from the Crohn's. I've read that 15-30% of Crohn's patients have some degree of clubbing, and many are not aware of it.

It bothers me, though (I'm a worrier) and I find myself looking at everyone's fingernails everywhere I go now!

Thanks for the replies!
Crohn's possibly since early 20's (bowel obstruction)
Colonoscopy 2008: ulcers in rectum
Small capsule endoscopy: ulcers in terminal ileum
Chronis RLQ pain, no diarrhea
Gluten-free, dairy-free, low sugar diet

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 5/20/2010 11:54 AM (GMT -7)   
randynoguts is right: clubbing can be a sign of heart/ lung pathology, but it also commonly happens in crohn's and a massive list of other diseases! many people have clubbing (especially mild) and it's something doctors alwas look for but they dont know what causes it, just that some people get it!
Crohns can also lead to other nail changes, such as when it causes things like iron deficiency anaemia... but i'd say dont worry about it... blush

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1343
   Posted 5/20/2010 1:14 PM (GMT -7)   
dorri said...
My fingernails fan out when I grow them a little longer. My toenails have very deep horizontal lines. The doctor said that's when my body shuts down growth to the nail because healing and energy are needed elsewhere during times of inflammation and flares. Usually these lines show up months later after the crohn's attack has passed.

I had that happen once. I had pneumonia (caused by valley fever), and every finger and toenail ended up with a horizontal "dip" across it.
34 years old, Crohn's disease for 15 of them
Resection of ileocecal valve on 09/22/09
Current Meds: LDN, Pentasa, Effexor XR, Zyrtec
Supplements: 3 kinds of Fish Oil, Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Coconut Oil, Garlic Oil, CoQ10, Enzymes
SCD since 12/01/08 - eating Stage 3 foods

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3143
   Posted 5/20/2010 1:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I bite my fingernails so I don't know if mine curl down!
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa, cholestyramine, iron and vitamin supplements. 
Prepare for the future, but live in the present

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 440
   Posted 5/20/2010 1:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Got it! have had it for a long time...especially in my pointer fingers! My toenails come up with holes in them. I get hard as nails or something with fiber in it to polish over then use fingernail polish to try and hide it. Aren't we crafty:)
 "Get busy living or get busy dying"
Dx in 2005 with Crohns after a Hysterectomy. Re-section in 2006...came apart so got to do it again! Frequent Kidney stones and Shingles... a new present as of 08-09 Diabetes Type 2. Total of 12 surgerys.
Imran, Asacol, Colestid, Bentyl, Lamotil, Paxil, Nexium, Probiodicts, Vit D, Folic Acid, Lots of Potassium, Fish Oil, up to 6 Immodium a day. Oh, and one Giant Pill holder!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1882
   Posted 5/20/2010 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Some of my fingernails have gotten curvy but I thought it was from getting gel overlays for a few years. I do have some ridges though.
d 1/09 with colitis sigmoid colon with some diverticular disease as well
IBS, asthma/allergies,  high BP, fibromyalgia, GERD, restless legs and periodic limb movement in sleep, low thyroid, the list keeps growing..........................
claritin, singulair, diovan, progesterone, VSL#3 probiotic, Vit. D, colazal, plaquenil back on cymbalta for pain, nexium for reflux (trying again)
Blood test positive for Crohn's via prometheus ibd serology panel ASCA
Positive ANA rheumatologist suspects mixed connective tissue disease 4/2010
Collitis doing OK for now, it's fatigue and joint pain that are plagueing me right now!!!

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/25/2010 5:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Clubbing of the fingernails is, unfortunately, another side effect of Crohn's. My toenails are also clubbed now. Even though I am in complete remission and haven't had symptoms for 12 years, my nails have never straightened out. They are also very soft and split easily.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 5/25/2010 10:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Luckily I don't have clubbing issues which is pretty amazing since I've had CD for 19 yrs now with no full remission...funny thing though, my mom had heart disease and ulcerative colitis and she never had clubbing either...weird eh!
bee propolis caps 500mg one cap twice/day
omegas 369 caps one cap twice/day
probiotics 10 billion cfu once/day
vitamins C-calcium ascorbate (easy on the gut) and vitamin A each once/day
Prodiem fibre supplement one cap before bed
I've also altered my diet (no junky stuff at all, processed, fast-foods, refined sugars, ect) and exercise regularly.
I went from 30+ bloody BM's/day with lots of lower back pain to an average of 5/day no bleeding no back pain and completely formed stools, still have severe urgency issues.
~~~~~~~~My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)~~~~~~~~

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 222
   Posted 5/26/2010 3:32 AM (GMT -7)   
And I thought it was because my nails were too long, although they are not that long!!! like some one said on here I have curving especially on my pointer fingers!!!
Michelle 40 years old
Diagnosed with CD 2004 (undiagnosed correctly +- 3 years, wrongly diagnosed with IBS)
Bowel resection 2005
medication: pentasa 500mg , Co-codomol 500mg/32mg codeine
loperamide 2mg (prn - take as many as 10-20 a day)
calcium tablets, multivitamin tablets, Omega 3
Ferrous sulphate(anaemia)
levothyroxine (thyroid)
questran light (3 sachets/day), 3 monthly B12 Injections

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 5/26/2010 10:24 AM (GMT -7)   
HabsHockeyFan said...
I bite my fingernails so I don't know if mine curl down!

LOL, X 2.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1054
   Posted 5/26/2010 2:53 PM (GMT -7)   
I have clubbing on my pointer fingers, and ridges on my thumbnails.
Stephanie, 28 years old
Diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis March 2000
Possible diagnosis of IBS-D
Total Proctocolectomy and Permanent Ileostomy 3/18/10!
Tried: Asacol, Remicade, 6mp, Humira, Xifaxan, Apriso, Imuran, Rowasa Enemas, Colocort Enemas, Psyllium Seed Powder... Tried Probiotics: Align (with no change except bloating) and VSL #3 DS (AWFUL diarrhea).
Currently taking: Prenatal Vitamin, Vitamin B 12 Complex, Biotin, Vitamin D, Calcium, Flomax (for urinary retention). 

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/21/2016 9:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Clubbed fingernails are a result of a blockage against oxygen reaching every cell in the body. In COPD, it is a function of damaged lungs. But in Crohn's Disease, it is a function of lack of red blood cells, anemia.

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.

In chronic bowel conditions which involve malabsorption, anemia is caused by either expelling blood in bowel movements, or a lack of "intrinsic factor" in the stomach which has an important role in the absorption of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in the intestine. Vitamin B12 is needed for red blood cells to form and grow. Failure to produce or utilize intrinsic factor results in the condition pernicious anemia.

Pernicious anemia is a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the intestines cannot properly absorb vitamin B12. The body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. You get this vitamin from eating foods such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs, nutritional yeast and dairy products. There is also an injection of B12 that lasts 6 months. Vegan vegetarians need B12 supplements.

A special protein, called intrinsic factor (IF), helps your intestines absorb vitamin B12. This protein is released by cells in the stomach. When the stomach does not make enough intrinsic factor, the intestine cannot properly absorb vitamin B12.

Common causes of pernicious anemia include:

• Weakened stomach lining (atrophic gastritis)
• An autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system attacks the actual intrinsic factor protein or the cells in the lining of your stomach that make it.

Post Edited (Sunbear) : 11/21/2016 9:28:30 AM (GMT-7)

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