What Does It Mean When Your Nails Are Clubbing?

nail clubbing
nail clubbing

Nails are an essential part of the body, and it plays a significant role in the aesthetic aspect of a person. You can do a lot of things to your nails from daily manicures to pedicures, but be reminded that they are prone to infection and illnesses. One of these detriments is nail clubbing that is a change in the areas under and around the fingernails and toenails, occurring with some disorders resulting in the nail’s change in construction.

What does it mean when your nails are clubbing? Nail clubbing usually happens when the tips of the fingers enlarge and the nails curve around your fingertips. It occurs throughout the years due to a lack of oxygen and a great sign of various types of lung diseases.

This article will allow you to get a quick understanding of nail clubbing, its definition, its causes, and how to prevent it from happening. Dive in.

What Is Clubbing?

Clubbing of the fingers and toes relates to some physical changes happening to your fingernails or toenails. It is a severe condition and a result of underlying medical conditions that involve the widening and increase of roundness in the shape of your nails.

Also, you may notice an increased angle between your nails and cuticles. It might look like a downward curving of your nails. Clubbing has a slow onset to the point where a person is entirely unaware of the change. It is usually painless but sometimes accompanied by some discomfort.

What Causes Clubbing?

There’s still no significant reason why clubbing occurs. But there are certain conditions known to activate the component in the bloodstream. These types of activation play a role in changing the nail bed, which happens when the clubbing happens.

Nail widening occurs when the tissue under your nail plate becomes thicker. It can be triggered by some medical conditions happening inside your body.

For instance, clubbing often results from lung-related issues. One major illness is lung cancer. It is a disease that develops when you have abnormal lung cells that grow out inside your body and grow out of control. Another one is cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that affects how water and salt are moved inside the body. It then creates a thick secretion within the lungs and other organs.

Clubbing can also mean that you might be experiencing some other diseases or disorders. One of the most common is Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a specific type of cancer.

It can also be a symptom of some heart defects like the tetralogy of Fallot. Some even show an overactive thyroid gland, which can be a result of Graves’ diseases and some liver diseases.


Overall, the underlying conditions that causing nail clubbing is pretty severe and severe. Early diagnosis can make a lot of difference in improving your outlook. In some cases, it will go back to its normal size and shape once the underlying condition has been treated.

Some conditions can be cured, some are chronic but manageable, and some are harder to treat. If you see some of the symptoms, immediately make an appointment with your doctor.



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