How To Stop Nails From Curling With A Few Basic Tricks!

If you’ve found your nails curling, it’s time to take immediate steps to cure them. So don’t panic. Because there are some hacks that can save your nails.

So, the real question: how to stop nails from curling?

There are many reasons that cause the nails to curl. Iron deficiency causes nail curling. So, you can simply increase the intake of iron. Since diseases also cause nails to curl. Treating heart or lung diseases also heals the nails. Besides, removing your ingrown toenail also helps the nail to become straight.

These are the steps you can take to stop your nails from curling. However, to find out more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments, read along.

Let’s begin-

Curling Nails: When Should You Be Concerned?

Though we know that our nail condition mirrors our health. And that no nail problems should be neglected. Whether it’s a minor razor cut through a fingernail or an infection on nail tips. 

The plot twist is that it doesn’t always mean bad news. However, in order to treat your nails, you need to find out the causes of curling.

But, first. Let us know the symptoms of curling nails. That way you’ll know if it’s really curling. And whether you should start the treatment. 

It’s a good idea to consult a doctor whenever they find any nail issues. But it might not be as serious a case as you think.

But when should you be concerned?

Curling nails often start from the edges. You’ll notice that the edge of your nails curls upward or downward. It’ll happen to all of your nails to a point where the nail surface is arched. In some cases, curling might increase or hurt.

In other cases, you’ll notice only the sides of nails are curling downwards. The nails kind of form a downward U-like structure at the edge. You’ll also find that the edge of the nail becomes very small compared to the actual shape. This happens both with long and short nails.

curling nails

Though toenails are sturdier than fingernails, they’re often the victims of curling. The symptoms of curling are the same. The edge of the nails curves into a U-like shape. 

Often the nail bed underneath separates from the nail at the curved area. This is when you should start the treatment.

On the other hand, if your nails are long and curved at the end, it might not be a problem. 12.88 is the average nail length of a person. Any length beyond that means you’ve long nails. 

Usually, very long nails start curling at one time due to their sheer weight. This might not be a U-shaped curl rather a smooth curve. If this is what you’re facing, don’t worry. Long nail curling is natural. And only a little trim will save you from it.

However, for those who are facing the other symptoms, keep calm. We’ve gathered some solutions which will help you get rid of your worry.

Types Of Nail Curling: Which One Do You Have?

Nail curling not only ceases the beauty of our hands and toes. But they are also a deadly reminder of our health conditions. 

That’s because these exoskeletons require a lot of oxygen from our blood. And most of the diseases that occur decrease the saturation of oxygen circulation in the flow. As a result, these health problems affect the growth of the nails. So the nails start curling at the tips. 

Other reasons for curling nails are iron deficiency, fungal infections, and even pregnancy.

Now there are a number of reasons your nails might be curling. And your job would be to identify. This will help you to take the necessary action. Hopefully, these steps will help you fix your nails back to normal in no time.

Here’s a table for your quick analysis-

Nail Curling TypeReasonsSolutions
Upward Curling-Lack of iron
-Plummer-Vinson Syndrome
-Chronic iron-deficiency anemia
-Natural aging process
-Treating the iron deficiency
-Contact a physician
-Trimming nails regularly
Downward Curling-Naturally clubbed
-Congenital heart problems
-Lung cancer
-Lack of oxygen
-Inflammatory problems in GI tract
-Treating oxygen deficiency
-In the case of pregnancy, wearing comfortable shoes.
-Trimming nails regularly
Nail Fungus Curling-Due to in-grown nail
-Nail psoriasis
-Fungal ointment
-Apply tea tree oil and menthol
-Prescribed ointments/tropical -creams

Without further ado, let us take a look into the types of nail curling-

Are Your Nails Curling Upward?

This is one of the most common problems people face with curling nails. In this case, you’ll find your nails curling at the tips or from the edge. The skin on the side of your nails gets separated if the edges are curling upward.

nails curling upward

The shape of the nail forms a U-like structure or becomes concave. Sometimes the nail curves to the extreme. In that case, the nail can hold drops of water. The nails with these shapes are called spoon nails.

Upward curling is also common in toenails. Naturally, the toenails are sturdier. Yet they curl upwards due to various health issues. This state of the nail isn’t pretty to look at. Not to mention, it’s a sign of health risk. 

So it’s better you find the reason for your nails curling as soon as possible.


This type of nail curling is called koilonychia in medical terms. This happens due to the deficiency of iron. So, if you have anemia, your nails will probably become concave. 

Not only that, any disease affecting the metabolism of iron causes nails to curl. There are a number of disorders that cause this problem. 

These are-

  • Hemochromatosis
  • Plummer-Vinson Syndrome
  • Chronic iron-deficiency anemia


The upward nail curling caused due to lack of iron doesn’t require emergency treatment. Because sometimes this happens due to the natural aging process. 

Usually, if you treat the deficiency with iron intakes, the curled nails heal. However, if someone has a sudden change in their nails, they should go see a physician.

Are you wondering about toenails? You don’t have to worry. They literally require the same treatment as the fingernails. However, the recovery might take longer.

Are Your Nails Curling Downward?

Another common nail problem is downward curling. In this situation, the nails will start curling at the tips. And this makes the nail form a round shape at the tip. Often this nail problem makes the fingers look round and swollen at the tip.

Downward nail curling also has a name. Which is known as nail clubbing. It also has various other names such as the drumstick fingers or Hippocratic fingers. 

Downward curling is also common for toenails, especially during pregnancy. That’s why, if a pregnant woman is wearing acrylic nails, it might lift.


The downward nail curling might indicate two things. First, that it could be normal. One might simply have naturally clubbed fingers. 

This type of clubbing is called primary clubbing. And secondly, it might be the sign of a disease. Which is called secondary clubbing. Clubbing is mostly caused by heart and lung diseases.

That’s because heart or lung diseases decrease the saturation level of oxygen in our blood. As a result, the nails don’t have sufficient oxygen circulation. Which makes the nails softer and eventually curl. This is when you should take the sign seriously and go for a medical check-up. 

You can also check the saturation on your own using an oximeter. If the level is less than 90, you’ll need to go for a check-up. We’ve curated a list of the best oximeters, just in case-

zacurate pro series 500dl fingertip pulse oximeter

Zacurate Pro Series 500DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

fingertip pulse oximeter

Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

So, don’t ignore the signs. Check up on your oxygen levels right away!

Curled nails are the most common symptom of lung cancer and congenital heart problems. Other diseases like heart and lung infections cause curling nails. Besides, inflammatory problems in the GI tract or IBD also have symptoms of curling nails.

Pregnancy downward toenail curling is also pretty common. This happens due to a lot of reasons. Mostly because of wearing small shoes. During pregnancy, the feet grow bigger in size. That’s why wearing normal shoes forces the toenails to curl.


We know about both primary and secondary clubbing. Now it’s time for us to know about its solutions. Primary clubbing is completely genetic and we’ve no control over it whatsoever. 

However, secondary clubbing can be treated back to normal.

If you start the treatment of your disease, the clubbed nails will start healing. That’s because once the treatment starts, the oxygen saturation increases. And the toenails and fingernails start becoming straight. 

But keep in mind the treatment should be started as soon as you’re diagnosed.

In case of pregnancy, wearing comfortable shoes will help the nails to retain their shape. The shoes should be big enough for the nails. 

Trimming the nails often can also help stop them from curling. So you must trim your nails often using clippers or scissors.

Is Your Nail Fungus Curling Toenail?

If the above situations don’t comply, your toenails might have an infection. When forced toenails grow inward and form an ingrown nail. 


This ingrown nail causes infection. As a result, the nail starts curling sideways. Sometimes the ingrown toenail swells cause pain and become red.

All of these ingrown toenail curling situations can be fixed with over-the-counter treatment. However, there are other fungal infections that cause the nail to curl. 

A disease called Nail psoriasis causes the nails to curve as well. It also causes the nail to thicken and form holes on the surface.


Treatment for ingrown toenails includes soaking the feet in water 2-3 times a day. To reduce the infection, try and apply tea tree oil and menthol to decrease the inflammation.

A lot of people prefer ingrown toenail surgery. On the other hand, a lot of people try home treatment methods. For example, separating the skin and nails by using cotton fills.

Treating nail psoriasis, however, is different. Because you need to kill the infection in order to fix the curled nails. The treatment should be authorized by a doctor. If the doctor prescribes, you can use different ointments/topical creams or light therapy. 

There are also different injections to kill the infection. Sometimes, the doctor prescribes oral medication to help reduce infection.  This makes the nails back to normal.

Nail Curling Preventions

Now, we’ve identified the problems and figured out the solution. However, our fight with the curling nails is not over. 

After you start your treatment, you need to take the necessary precautions. So that your nails don’t curl again in the future. 

There are some simple steps you should follow in order to care for your nails. They are-

  • Take lots of essential vitamins and proteins: vitamin B12, vitamin D3, and iron.
  • Keep the cuticle of the fingers back
  • Trim the nails every few weeks
  • Use less chemical-heavy products
  • Cover nails while working

These are the ways you can prevent your nails from curling. Keeping our nails healthy is a must.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What causes fingernails to curl down?

There are many reasons for fingernails to curl down. Lack of oxygen, lack of iron, various heart and liver diseases, and fungal infections are the main reasons responsible.

What do clubbed fingernails look like?

Clubbed fingernails are swollen at the tips. And the nails are curved downward at the surface. The nails are soft and are often described as floating. The clubbed nails are sometimes genetic and hereditary.

Why do my fingernails curl inwards at the sides?

If your nails are curved at the side, there’s a possibility that the ingrown nail is responsible. If you cut the nails improperly or wear the wrong shoe size, your toenails will be ingrown. Sometimes ingrown nails even cause infections.

Signing Off

We hope now you know how to stop nails from curling. All you have to do is identify the problem and take the necessary steps. Keep in mind, our nails reflect our health. So any sign should not be ignored.

Let us know if you could identify the problem and the solution in the comments.

Till then, keep taking self-care.

Katharyn Riedel

1 thought on “How To Stop Nails From Curling With A Few Basic Tricks!”

  1. I don’t think my nails or health fit any of these descriptions yet I have some nails that are curling or bent downward. My oxygen levels are fine and I have no respiratory issues. No idea what’s really wrong with my nails. I’d love to add a picture but can’t do it on this comment. I have one fingernail that looks like a waterfall. Another one where the right half of the nail is bent down and inward.


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