Clubbing is a thickening of the flesh under the toenails and fingernails. The nail curves downward, similar to the shape of the round part of an upside-down spoon.
Clubbing is associated with a wide number of diseases. It is most often noted in heart and lung diseases that cause a lower than normal amount of oxygen in the blood.
Clubbing may also be due to lung cancer, and diseases of the liver and gastrointestinal tract.
Clubbing may also occur in families. In this case it may not be due to an underlying disease.
There is no specific treatment for the clubbing itself. Home care depends on the diagnosis.
Call your health care provider if:
If you notice clubbing, call your health care provider.
What to expect at your health care provider's office:
A person with clubbing generally has other symptoms and signs that define a specific condition. Diagnosis of that condition is based on:
- Family history
- Medical history
- Physical exam that looks at the lungs and chest
Medical history questions may include:
- Do you have any breathing difficulty?
- Does it affect the fingers, toes, or both?
- Is it becoming more noticeable?
- Is the skin ever bluish-colored?
- What other symptoms are also present?
- When did you first notice this?
The following tests may be done:
Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 7th ed. St. Louis, Mo; WB Saunders; 2005:78-79.
Murray J, Nadel J. Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2000:506.
Spicknall KE. Clubbing: an update on diagnosis, differential diagnosis, pathophysiology, and clinical relevance. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005;52(6):1020-1028
|Review Date: 11/12/2007|
Reviewed By: Andrew Schriber, M.D., F.C.C.P., Specialist in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, New Jersey. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-
A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.