Koilonychia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

People usually get injured or has a nail infection due to any of the reason. But the infection in nails or anything occurring to them becomes painful as the person is not able to do the tasks properly. Spoon-shaped nail is also one such disorder which is also known as koilonychia in which nails get converted into spoon-shaped. This can occur due to various common reason which should be known to us to prevent koilonychia let us try to know them. Now, let us try to know what koilonychia is, why this is caused, its symptoms, ways to diagnose, treatment methods and home remedies to cure easily.

What is Koilonychia?

Koilonychia is the other name for spoon nails. This is the disorder in which nails get thin and spoon-shaped that even they can hold a drop of water which is not possible in normal nails. This can be caused due to many reasons but the common reason for this is anemia. There could be the change in color, the texture of the nail due to certain conditions which can be the sign of serious disease further.

Causes of Koilonychia

In many cases, koilonychia can be the symptom of some other disease. Various factors are responsible to cause koilonychia. Some of the common factors are the following:

Iron deficiency

Anemia which is the deficiency of iron is the most common cause of koilonychia disease. Anemia is most common to occur in those women who are mature to give birth to a child. Also, those who already have small children. This deficiency can occur due to inadequate iron intake in diet, cancer, malnutrition or intestinal bleed.

Environmental factor

Products that contain petroleum are the main environmental factor to cause koilonychia. Sometimes hair stylist uses petroleum products which can cause koilonychia easily. Also, people who live at high altitude are at risk to cause the disease as oxygen deficiency at that place will produce less red blood cells. This deficiency of red blood cells ultimately causes the deficiency of iron in the body.

Autoimmune conditions

Sometimes certain skin inflammatory conditions such as lichen planus cause koilonychia. This skin disease causes rashes on the body and also weaken the immune system. Some other disease such as lupus is also present which are associated with koilonychia which also has symptoms of fever, swollen joints.

Other Conditions

Some conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, malnutrition, protein deficiency, thyroid disorder can also cause koilonychia. Along with that disorder that involves muscles and bones, fungal nail infection also causes the disease. People who are at higher risk of iron deficiency such as vegetarians and menstruating women are at higher risk of this disease.

Symptoms of Koilonychia

The main symptom of koilonychia is spoon-shaped which means flat nails which can easily hold a drop of water. The disease is very easy to notice with fingernail and toenail. Some other common symptoms along with these symptoms are as following:

  • Nails get into spoon shape with center gets thinner and the outer part gets detached.
  • Most commonly along with the change in shape change in color also takes place.
  • Pain and swelling can also occur due to detachment from the nail bed.
  • Due to anemia weakness can be observed in the person.
  • Single nail or some of the nails may get affected

Diagnosis of Koilonychia

Koilonychia can be easily diagnosed by the change in shape and color of nails. Still, certain tests and examination can also be done. The doctor will physically examine the person by asking some of the questions regarding the medical history of the person. To test the iron deficiency blood test is done which easily tell how much iron deficiency person has. Along with that the normal symptoms of the person also help to diagnose the disease.

Treatment of Koilonychia

If the doctor found out the cause of koilonychia than treatment is given according to that. Such as when the person has anemia then doctor prescribe iron tablets to take to reduce the iron deficiency. Along with that iron-rich food such as red meat, dark green vegetables, seafood, dry fruits, beans, peas and all the iron-rich diet are recommended to have.

If the person and vegetarian and not willing to have meat and other things then along with iron-rich vegetables vitamin C can be taken. Such as along with peas, beans or green vegetables citrus fruits can be taken to increase the iron absorption in the body.

Home Remedies for Koilonychia

Certain home remedies or prevention can be taken so to cure the koilonychia. These remedies are as following:

  • Avoid biting and chewing your nails and keep your nails clean and small in length.
  • Lotions and creams to soften skin can be used as they prevent loss of moisture and prevent the nails to be dry.
  • If the disease is seen in the toenails then try to avoid wearing socks and shoes.
  • Avoid using petroleum products especially which are applied to the skin.
  • Wear gloves while using some kind of chemicals for home cleaning purpose.
  • Increase the intake of iron in your diet to prevent anaemia.
  • Lavender oil can be applied to nails to strengthen them so that they do not tear off easily.
  • Raw lemon can also be applied to nails as this will clear of any kind of bacterial and fungal infection present on the nails.


Koilonychia is common to occur as deficiency of iron or anemia can occur to any individual. But it is not necessary that this is itself a disease it can be a symptom of other diseases. Hence, treatment is necessary else the other disease can be highlighted after some time. Here in this article, we provided you detailed and complete information regarding koilonychia disease. This will be helpful to you for taking certain precautions to prevent the disease and along with that visiting doctor is also recommended.

Ritu Saini

I am happy go lucky girl who believes in present and make the most of it. Visiting new places, painting and playing badminton are my hobbies. I am a simple living and thinking personality and very helping by nature.

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