Black Line on the Nail: Should You Worry?

by Miral khattak
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Black Line

A small black line that runs vertically under your nail could be a splinter haemorrhage. Lines that run horizontally could be melanonychia. These could be no big deal or a sign of a more critical health problem. 

Splinter haemorrhages look like a piece of wood stuck under your nail, where the name comes from. These happen when small blood vessels under your nail get hurt. Some of its traits are listed below:

It’s either black or a pale brown colour.

When you press on the nail, it doesn’t change how it looks.

It shows up under your nails at least once.

It’s rare for splinter haemorrhages to cover the whole nail. Melanonychia usually appears as thin black lines that start in the nail bed and go across the nail. This situation happens when there are more melanin deposits in the nail or when the colour of the nail changes.

Beau lines are thicker lines that make a horizontal stripe on the nail. In most cases, these are not dangerous, but nail darkening in the nail bed can be a sign of subungual melanoma.

The different kinds of nail lines are talked about in this piece. 

Pics of nail lines that are black 

Why Does My Nail Have A Black Line On It? 

 My Nail Have A Black Line

There are many reasons why someone might have black lines on their nails. 

Causes of splinter bleeding 

  • Some common reasons why slit haemorrhages happen are
  • An injury: An injury is one of the most common reasons why splinter haemorrhages happen. In this case, a blood vessel under your nail bed may burst because of pain.
  • Endocarditis: This is a heart disease that can lead to splinter haemorrhages. It occurs when an infection occurs in the heart’s inner sections or valves.
  • People who have psoriasis may also get tiny haemorrhages. Nail changes are a common early sign of psoriasis that people don’t pay much attention to.
  • Find out more about psoriasis and nails here.
  • Splinter haemorrhages can have several less common reasons, such as infection.
  • Medicines that change how blood clots, vasculitis lupus, nail fungus, lichen planus
  • The disease Raynaud’s
  • problems of the kidneys, lungs, or blood vessels
  • drugs for cancer

Why Do People Get Melanonychia? 

Melanonychia

There are two reasons why melanonychia might happen.

Melanocytic hyperplasia: The amount of pigment cells in the nail bed can rise if there is growth in or around the nail. Over time, this can make a dark line go along the length of the nail. These growths can be caused by something good or bad, like cancer.

The activity of melanosomes means that there are more melanin deposits in the nail but not more pigment cells.

Growths that aren’t normal in the nail bed cause melanocytic hyperplasia.

 These Growths Could Be Caused By:

a cancer

moles wounds

Some common reasons why melanocytes become active are

stress

not getting enough nutrients

unborn child

infection with psoriasis

Please find out more about melanonychia’s signs and what causes it here.

Beau Line Leads To 

  • Beau lines show horizontally on the nail when the nail bed changes or stops growing. Beau lines are often caused by an infection in the nail bed or damage from hitting or picking at the nail.
  • However, having more than one Beau line can be a sign of several long-term conditions, such as
  • Not enough kidneys
  • Thyroid sickness
  • mumps
  • melanoma and diabetes
  • syphilis
  • Side effects of treatment
  • asthma and endocarditis

How Do You Figure Out What Caused The Black Line On Your Nail? 

If you’re sure that the black line on your nail wasn’t caused by trauma or if it happens along with other symptoms that don’t seem to be linked, you should see a doctor.

For example, if you have endocarditis, you might feel tired, have a fever, pale skin, joint pain, and trouble breathing. It can show up on your skin as a rash, patches, or scales, mostly on your face, hands, feet, and skin folds.

You can expect your doctor to ask about your health history and do a physical check when you see them. If an underlying condition is suspected, your doctor may suggest more tests after your visit.

What Can Be Done About A Black Line On The Nail? 

How you treat discoloured nails will depend on what’s causing them in the first place. Sometimes, you may not need any treatment, and the line will go away with the nail.

Different health problems can cause splinter haemorrhages, melanonychia, and Beau lines, so the right way to treat them will depend on what’s causing them.

Endocarditis, for instance, needs medicines and maybe even surgery. People with psoriasis need to take different oral and topical drugs and learn how to avoid getting it in the first place. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What lack makes nails get black lines?

You may not get enough protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, or vitamin B9 (folate). This can make your nails get dark lines.

How can I tell if the spot on my nail is melanoma?

People with stage 1 nail melanoma may see a streak or band on their nails. This is most likely on the thumb or big toe of the hand or foot you use most.

The melanoma may be further along if the skin around the nail gets darker. Besides that, the nail could split or start to come away from the nail bed.

What is that black line on my nail? Is it a fork?

It happens less often than other reasons, but a fungal illness can leave a dark or black line on your nail. 

Takeaway

Your nails may show how healthy you are generally. There may be a reason for you to see a doctor if you have splinter haemorrhages, melanonychia, or other nail problems that you can’t explain.

There’s a chance that these lines on the nail aren’t harmful, but they could also be. If you remember hurting your nail, the splinter bleeding should disappear. If you have any other signs besides the problem with your nails, you should see your doctor for a complete exam and diagnosis.

Takeaway

Your nails may show how healthy you are generally. There may be a reason for you to see a doctor if you have splinter haemorrhages, melanonychia, or other nail problems that you can’t explain.

There’s a chance that these lines on the nail aren’t harmful, but they could also be. If you remember hurting your nail, the splinter bleeding should disappear. If you have any other signs besides the problem with your nails, you should see your doctor for a complete exam and diagnosis. 

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