Normally, you can see the pink nail bed underneath the clear hard nail plate in a fingernail. Most people have a white half-moon shape at the base of the nail called the lunula.
Changes in the color of your nails can sometimes be a sign that you have a disease or medical condition.
Nails that are entirely white except for a small band of pink or brown at the tip are called Terry’s nails. They’re most often seen in people with severe liver disease.
Nails that are half white and half dark are called Lindsay’s nails. They’re most often associated with kidney disease.
Keep reading to learn more about Terry’s nails, what causes them, and how they’re treated.
Terry’s nails are almost completely white with a “ground glass” appearance. The tip of the nail has a small pink or brown band. Because it’s also white, the lunula can’t be seen.
Most often it’s seen in fingernails, but there are a few reports of Terry’s nails in toenails. Usually the nails of all of your fingers are affected, but occasionally only one nail has the condition.
Terry’s nails feel just like nails without the condition. They don’t cause any symptoms.
Doctors think the nail appears white because there are fewer blood vessels and more tissue than usual in the nail bed.
Terry’s nails themselves aren’t harmful. However, they can be a sign of a serious medical condition and should be evaluated by your doctor.
Terry’s nails are associated with several medical conditions.
It’s most commonly seen in people with liver disease, especially if they have cirrhosis. According to a review article in American Family Physician, Terry’s nails are found in about 80 percent of these people.
Other associated conditions include:
Terry’s nails can also appear as a natural sign of aging even without an underlying condition.
Terry’s nails don’t need to be treated. They’ll go away as the underlying condition associated with them improves.
However, all of the associated conditions can be very serious. If you think you have Terry’s nails, see your doctor so any underlying conditions can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Lindsay’s nails also appear as a change in nail color and they’re associated with an underlying medical condition.
Also called “half-and-half” nails, Lindsay’s nails are white from the nail base to about halfway to the nail tip. The other half of the nail is dark red or brown.
Doctor’s aren’t sure what causes Lindsay’s nails, but they think the reddish-brown color may be due to increased amounts of a brown pigment called melanin. The white half may be due to chronic anemia related to kidney failure, which can make the nail bed pale.
The presence of Lindsay’s nails is only seen in people with chronic kidney disease. About 20 percent of people with chronic kidney disease have the condition.
Changes in your nails can be a clue that you might have an underlying medical condition.
Terry’s and Lindsay’s nails are good examples of color changes that can be associated with disease. Other changes such as ridges or pits in your nail or nail shape can also be a sign that you may have an underlying medical condition.
It’s important to pay attention to your nails. If you notice changes, see your doctor. They may diagnose an underlying condition and create a treatment plan that can improve the outcome.