Muehrcke’s Lines: The Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Muehrcke’s lines refer to the horizontal white lines across the nails lying parallel to the lunula. This abnormality in the nail, sometimes, proves that there might be some underlying health issues which should be kept in mind.

These lines are also called leukonychia in medical term. This abnormal condition of the fingernails was first described by a physician named Robert Muehrcke in the British Medical Journal in 1956. Since it was taken into light by him, the condition is named after him.


What Are Muehrcke’s Lines?

Muehrcke's Lines - nail white line

Muehrcke’s lines of the fingernails are actually a variant of leukonychia striata. The lines are visible to the eyes being parallel to the lunula and horizontal to the nail plate and the lines go right across the nail.

These lines don’t disappear as the nail grows because they don’t originate on the nail plate, these lines exist underneath the nail plate and are a part of the nail bed is placed over the nail, blanching the underlying nail bed.

Though they are merely some lines that appear on the nail plate, Muehrcke’s lines are, sometimes, associated with other diseases.

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The Signs & Symptoms of Muehrcke’s Lines

This disease is easily detectable as this condition affects more than one nails at a time. The signs and symptoms are usually visible only on the four nails keeping the thumbnails in the safe zone.

But, thumbnails also bear the symptoms when the case is severe. One can easily identify Muehrcke’s lines by checking the following checklist.

  • White horizontal lines will travel across the nail plates.
  • The lines are constant and nail growth will have no effect on them.
  • Second, third and fourth fingers are the first nails to get attacked by Muehrcke’s lines.
  • The nail bed underneath the lines looks weak and unhealthy.
  • There will be no dent caused by the lines.
  • Pressing down the fingernails will make the lines disappear temporarily.


Causes of Muehrcke’s Lines

The exact causes of Muejrcke’s are hard to find out. We can dig deep into the history of this disease.

Robert Muehrcke first diagnosed this disorder in some patients who had a sickness where the blood levels of the protein albumin weren’t up to the mark. There lies the main reason behind these lines. The abnormality of albumin is responsible for these lines.

Albumin is related to blood and is made in the liver. So, Muehrcke’s lines are somehow connected with blood and liver. There are some other reasons which are as follows.

  • Liver diseases such as cirrhosis
  • Kidney diseases such as nephrotic syndrome.
  • Chemotherapy which is taken for cancer
  • Lack of proper nutrients in the body.



As the main problem is related to the imbalance of albumin levels, Muehrcke’s lines can be cured easily by injecting albumin into the body. The lines will disappear if the albumin level gets back to normal.

If you can’t still get rid of these lines, consult a doctor and sort out the specific health problems that cause the Muehrcke’s lines of the fingernails.

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Nails are an important part of our body but we often neglect Muehrcke’s lines disease taking it lightly.

It’s not a wise thing to do because nail diseases may be the symptoms of something severe that can harm your health. Let’s take these little things seriously and live a happy life.

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