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 occurs with a wide number of diseases. It is most often found 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.
- Chronic lung conditions
- Lung abscess
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Congenital heart disease (cyanotic type)
Tetralogy of Fallot
Total anomalous venous return
Transposition of the great vessels
- Tricuspid atresia
- Digestive system diseases
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
Graves disease or hyperthyroidism
- Other conditions
- Other types of cancer, including liver, gastrointestinal, Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Tuberculosis of the intestines
There is no specific treatment for the clubbing itself. Home care depends on the diagnosis.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If you notice clubbing, call your health care provider.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
A person with clubbing usually has other symptoms and signs of a specific condition. Diagnosing 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 clubbing affect the fingers, toes, or both?
- Is it becoming more noticeable?
- Is the skin ever bluish-colored?
- What other symptoms do you have?
- When did you first notice this?
The following tests may be done:
Arterial blood gas
- Chest CT scan
Pulmonary function tests
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