The nails change with aging, growing more slowly, and becoming dull and brittle. The color may change from translucent to yellowed and opaque. Nails, especially toenails, may become hard and thick and ingrown toenails may be more common. The tips of the fingernails may fragment. Sometimes, lengthwise (longitudinal) ridges will develop in the fingernails and toenails. This can be a normal aging change. However, some nail changes can be caused by infections, nutritional problems, trauma, and other problems.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.