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Nails, Splinter Hemorrhages In

The tiny brown streak is a splinter hemorrhage.

The tiny brown streak is a splinter hemorrhage.

What Are Splinter Hemorrhages In Nails?

Subungual (under the nail) splinter hemorrhage is characterized by fragility of the underlying capillaries resulting in bleeding under the nail . Bleeding that results looks like a brown streak or splinter.1

Because the streak of blood is not in the nail but under the nail, it does not grow out with the nail. It can be a feature of vitamin C deficiency which resolves with adequate nutrition.

Nail Anatomy. Nail Anatomy. A. Nail plate; B. lunula; C. root; D. sinus; E. matrix; F. nail bed; G. hyponychium; H. free margin. Courtesy Wikipedia.org.

A. Nail plate; B. lunula; C. root; D. sinus; E. matrix; F. nail bed; G. hyponychium; H. free margin. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Splinter hemorrhage can be seen in a diet poor in vitamin C, disorders of food absorption, systemic disease such as psoriasis, nail lichen planus, an aggressive disease that may destroy the nail plate, and endocarditis. Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, cause vitamin C deficiency.

Who is Affected in the General Population? Both sexes are commonly affected, though it occurs significantly more frequently in males. Where present in females, they were confined to a single digit.2

What Are Splinter Hemorrhages In Nails In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 10th Edition. Kathleen Mahan, Sylvia Escott-Stump. 2000. W.B. Saunders Company. 

  2. Monk BE. The prevalence of splinter haemorrhages. Br J Dermatol. 1980 Aug;103(2):183-5. 

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