Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
Synonyms and keywords: Onychorrhexis; longitudinal split of nail
Brittle nails is a condition where the nails are fragile and break frequently.
It can be due to an infection or a nutritional disorder, but they can also be an indication of several other medical conditions, including iron deficiency, anemia, hypothyroidism, impaired kidney function, circulation problems, and biotin deficiency.
Causes in Alphabetical Order
- Anorexia nervosa
- Biotin deficiency
- Circulation problems
- Excessive strong soap and water exposure
- Impaired kidney function
- Iron deficiency
- Nail polish remover
- Nutritional disorder
- Oral retinoid therapy
- Witkop syndrome
Brittle nails can also be considered as nails that show signs of splitting.
Image shown below is courtesy of Professor Peter Anderson DVM PhD and published with permission © PEIR, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Pathology
Epidemiology and Demographics
Brittle nails affects up to 20% of the population.
Some solutions that have been proposed include vitamin supplements, gelatin, glucosamine, reducing the use of nail polish, and ensuring proper moisture.