Do you have hypothyroidism? Look at your hands

Do you have hypothyroidism? Look at your hands

Our fingernails (and toenails actually) say so much about our health. It is mind-blowing when you look at the references listed at the bottom of this article the number of conditions of the nails associated with hypothyroidism including Alunula (absence of the Lunula, the little white moons of the bed of the nails), Onychorrhexis (longitudinal ridging of the nails), Beau’s Lines (transverse grooves or depressions of the nail plate), Koilonychia (spoon shaped nail plates), Onycholysis (separation of the nail from the nail bed), Pterygium Unguis (thinning of the nail fold and spreading of the cuticle over the nail plate), Onychomycosis (fungal infection of the nail), Yellow Nail Syndrome, brittleness, slow growth, and thickening.

I first heard Dr. Peter Osborne describe the following common symptoms of hypothyroidism he notices in his patients’ nails and it got my mind racing. I dove into studies and books to figure out how low thyroid can affect even our nails. What the heck! Not even one part of our body is safe from hypothyroidism.

Written by Dr. Peter Osborne

The symptoms of thyroid problems often manifest in the hands and fingers. Some very common physical abnormalities can present in the nail beds and fingernails. If you have these types of findings on your hands and also suffer with fatigue, hair loss (especially a thinning of the lateral eyebrows), low libido, dry skin, and unexplainable weight gain, visit with your doctor to have your thyroid evaluated. If you are being treated for hypothyroidism and have these symptoms, please too see your doctor in case they are an indication that you are not well treated for your condition.

Paronychia & Hypothyroidism

Here I have a nice image of the classic fingernails of a patient who had been priorly diagnosed with a hypothyroid condition. Now there are a number of classic things we can see here.

Hypothyroid Fingernails

The first is around the cuticles. You can see the really jagged and rough edges. You see it on both sides here. The formal name for this is Paronychia and it is a very very hallmark sign of hypothyroidism, meaning low thyroid condition. This type of symptom nutritionally is often times also linked to a protein deficiency. Interestingly enough, one of the major forms of amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks for protein) responsible for helping thyroid function is Tyrosine. Often times we will see a protein deficiency, and particularly Tyrosine deficiency, in patients that have low level of thyroid and it will present in the cuticles looking just like this, called Paronychia.

Vertical White Ridges on Nail & Hypothyroidism

Another classic example of the thyroid fingernail is this white vertical ridging that we see on both sides in the nail beds.

Hypothyroid Fingernails

This is often times indicative nutritionally of a selenium deficiency. Now why is that important in someone that has a thyroid condition? It’s important because selenium is a mineral absolutely essential in the conversion of the INACTIVE thyroid hormone T4 to the ACTIVE T3 thyroid hormone. T4 has to be converted into T3. T3 is the thyroid hormone that communicates directly with your DNA and speeds up your metabolism and has all the wonderful effects we’re looking for in thyroid hormone health. Without selenium we don’t convert T4 to T3 very effectively and it will look like this often in the fingernails. So look at your fingernails and if you find these types of white spots very well it means you have a selenium deficiency. It also might mean you have an undiagnosed thyroid condition. If you are treated for hypothyroidism, it might mean you are not well treated for it. I would advise you if these are present on your fingernails to visit with your doctor and have your thyroid evaluated.

Nail Splitting & Hypothyroidism

One other thing you can see here in this image is the splitting at the tips of the nails. This is also very very common in people with a hypothyroid condition.

Hypothyroid Fingernails

Look at your fingernails and see if you have these types of findings. If you do, follow up with your doctor and have your thyroid fully evaluated.

About Dr. Peter Osborne

Dr. Peter Osborne is the clinical director of Town Center Wellness in Sugar Land, Texas. He is a doctor of chiropractic and a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist. His clinical focus is the holistic natural treatment of chronic degenerative musculoskeletal diseases. He is an expert in the relationship that gluten sensitivity and food allergies play in chronic inflammation. He has helped thousands of patients recover from chronic painful conditions. Dr. Osborne is the author of the book No Grain, No Pain: A 30-Day Diet for Eliminating the Root Cause of Chronic Pain.


Heymann, W.R. (2008). Thyroid Disorders with Cutaneous Manifestations. London: Springer-Verlag London Ltd.

Macura, A.B. et al. Nail susceptibility to fungal infections in patients with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Przegl Lek. 2005;62(4):218-21.

Magee, D.J. (2014). Orthopedic Physical Assessment: Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Series, Sixth Edition. Missouri: Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

Sacchidanand, S. and Savitha, A.S. (2013). Nail & Its Disorders. New Delhi: Jaycee Brothers Medical Publishers Ltd.

READ NEXT: 300 Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Count How Many You Have

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About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini M.A., Ed.M., founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.


  1. I have hypothroid since i was 25 yrs old so 38 years i took synthroid med from .05 to now .2( did hit higher was .3 ). I gained so easy. Plus also i have crohn’s disease and didnt make me skinny and what more predisone made me gained lots more. I tried on diet various but always gained back. My nails never get longer and my three sisters have pretty natiral long nails

  2. Rebecca Wade says

    I thought this article was about a thyroid friendly ketone diet???? Wheres that at? Disappointed

  3. Barbara Shinholster says

    At 30 found out I have grave’s disease. I took radio active iodine to slow down my hypo. thyroid and lost most of my hair with the treatment. Now suffer with polyp bleeding in bladder. Help me

  4. Wilma dean drake says

    Have had tonail fungus for 2o year . got cured with listerment. Sid of tonail is not solid to skin . loose at side where fungus was. What do i need to do?

  5. Hello, Im a mom of two where thyroid runs rampid in our family. My daughters toe nails where actually lifting and separating and this happened on both of the same fingers in each hand. It hasnt happened since. My son showed me his hands a few weeks ago- both where completly peeled over (only the hands). No itching or anything. He bites his fingernails like crazy but does have a white mark across the bed. Maybe time for them to see a doctor. They are 11 & 12. Both track runners and eat like crazy.

    • Sorry-happened to her toe nail, and then again on both of her fingernails on both hands.

    • My son was diagnosed a couple of years ago at the age of six. His first doctor kept saying he just kept getting viruses so we got another opinion. This doctor checked his thyroid levels based off his horrible fatigue. My mom’s levels never showed “off” on testing but her symptoms were obvious and sure enough she is sooooo much better.

  6. I want to share this wonderful testimony to the people who are in the same problem that i was before i meant Dr Peter. i was living with HIV for the past 2 years, just last month as i was browsing on the internet about this deadly disease, i saw a testimony of somebody called Edwards Simone, testifying of how she was cured from HIV by Great Dr Peter and i decided to also email this man and tell him about my problem and as i did that, he told me to send him some of my personal details which i did and he prepared me a portion which i took and then he told me to wait for one week. After one week he told me to go for another HIV test, which i did and to my greatest suppress i was confirmed negative. all thanks be to Dr Peter and if you know that you are in this same problem or other deadly disease email him now on([email protected])

  7. Martha shelton says

    I have gone from hyper to hypo. Hate it. Took radioactive capsule in my 30’s but in my late 70’s it turned to hypo. Now can’t even loose an ounce of weight.

    • Lisa Rogers says

      Me too!!! I wiah I was more informed about the treatment back then, would have opted for surgery instead. Now I investigate everything. Beleive my thyroid disease was a side effect of taking statins for years. No more, removed gluten and most grains, got my cholesterol down 40pts in 4mths. Gluten controls cholesterol, NOT FAT!

  8. Change Dr’s
    Keep going until you find someone who will listen, it’s your body, you know when your car is not quite right…same difference. Err on the side of caution. Listen to your body.

  9. I have noduals on the thyroid. One easy to feel by Dr. Had ultrasound. Then biopseys. No cancer. Easily chilled but not freezing cold as is past years. Have tiny whit spots on nail that have come and gone but ridges always there. Nails always brittle. Break easily. Cuticals look like the picture accompanying this article.
    Blood tests fall in normal so no treatment. Muscles weak. Always tired. Diagnosed with periferal neuropathy, and fibromialgya. Don’t sleep well. Brain fog seems to come and go but never completely gone.
    Voice getting hoarder. Swallowing getting harder and chocking more frequent. Throat uncomfortable most of the time now.
    I’m not happy with how my nurse practitioner if managing this.

    • Deborah Cross says

      You sound exactly like me. I’m sitting in my chair with bandage on my neck from having my thyroid removed. The did biopsy’s on my growing nodules and said no cancer. Now, thyroid biopsy came back after removal.. cancer. No treatment necessary because the thyroid was removed and it had not
      Spread to other organs. The thyroid communicates with many other organs. I am happy to be rid of it, never worked right anyway.

      • When I was 17 years old, the doctor diagnosed me with Graves Disease, and I had the Radioactive Iodine. Since then I have been on Eltroxin daily. Iv always been tired and in need of a nap. Things started to get much worse a few weeks ago when I started feeling really bad. Lump feeling in my throat, uncomfortable to swallow and a whistle sound when breathing. Test results came back normal. I have to go for a scan this week. If anyone can fill me in on what the chances are of cancer in the thyroid OR a different disease popping up please let me know. The glands / tendons in my neck also feel stiff and a bit sore. There is no lump BUT I know that the treatment I received does shrink the thyroid too, so im guessing that my “lump” just isn’t protruding.

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