Spoon Nails (Koilonychia): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Nails are beautiful but they can turn into a nuisance if there comes any abnormality. Thre are a few common nail diseases and abnormalities that often trouble the patron. Spoon-shaped nails are one of them. Some of these abnormalities cause unpleasant physical sensitivity and some make the nails look ugly. Both of these aftereffects are bad for our health and outlook. That’s why knowing the causes, symptoms, and treatments of the nail abnormalities is a must to lead a healthy life. Read on to know the ins and outs of spoon-shaped nails.

What Are Spoon Shaped Nails?

Spoon Shaped Nails

The medical term for this disease is Koilonychia. The nail looks like spoons if the nail plate curves inward the nail bed and resembles the shape of spoons. It’s the concavity of the fingernails which occurs due to iron deficiency, anemia, hemochromatosis etc.

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The Causes of Koilonychia

Spoon-shaped nails are associated with mainly anemia and iron deficiency. But there are some other few reasons behind this abnormality of the nails. The salient reasons are as follows.

  • Hemochromatosis
  • Diabetes
  • Malnutrition
  • Heart Disease
  • Lack of Vitamin B
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Thyroid Disorders

And, sometimes spoon nails occurs due to the inherited genetic attributes. Besides, people who do heavy manual labor and walk barefooted are more prone to koilonychia.


Symptoms of Koilonychia

The symptoms of koilonychia are hard to determine when it is in the early stage. With the passage of time, the symptoms start to become obvious and that’s when a person finds his nails different than other normal people. The first of the symptoms is the nail become brittle and easily breakable. Sometimes, the color also starts to change in the advanced stages. The nails become dry and in some cases, they might swell too causing pain to the nail bed. As a consequence, all these things, jointly cause the nail to take the shape of a spoon gradually. As koilonychia is the outcome of anemia, other symptoms caused by anemia accompany these symptoms.



This sort of nail disorder is not considered severe as it doesn’t result in any serious health issue. But, it looks really odd in terms of beauty. The following treatments can be prescribed to get rid of spoon nails.

  • Eat foods that are enriched with iron. Such as beans, peas, spinach, red meat, pork, seafood, leafy vegetables etc.
  • One can take an iron supplement if only food is not enough to cure koilonychia.
  • Wear gloves while doing household chores and dealing with dry agents such as washing powder, soap, detergent powder etc.
  • Some people love to consume coffee frequently but this has to be checked. Coffee causes slow absorption of iron.
  • Consult a doctor if the problem gets more serious with the course of time. Follow the instructions of the dermatologist.

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Home Remedies & Prevention

The best way to live a healthy life is preventing any potential disease. It’s always better to prevent than to cure. And, home remedies are pretty easy and safe without the risk of any side effect. One can try the home remedies and precautions given below.

  • Keep the health hygiene. This includes keeping the nails clean and short, taking bath regularly and wearing clean clothes.
  • A balanced food & diet is a natural medication for all the diseases. Because we get everything we need from the food we eat.
  • A moisturizer can help you greatly to keep the nails damage free.
  • Lavender oil and lemon juice are two important natural components that can help cure the spoon shaped nails.
  • Avoid direct contact with any type of chemicals and artificial nails also should be avoided if you are prone to nail disorders or diseases.

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Why Does Some Baby Have Moon Shaped Nails?

Babies are soft and tender. A normal thing seems to be so abnormal if they have it. Spoon-shaped nails are very common in babies. In most cases, they are temporary. But, sometimes, this refers to the iron deficiency of the baby. That’s why parents have to be careful and check if the baby is having other symptoms associated with iron deficiency. Some additional iron deficiency symptoms are sores on the mouth and tongue, poor appetite, breathing problem, difficulty swallowing etc. If any of these are noticed together with koilonychia, consult a doctor immediately.

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The problems regarding nails should be addressed with great care. What seems normal to the naked eyes, may turn into something grave if not taken care of. Hope you will take great care of the nails and live a healthy life.

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