Clubbing is changes in the areas under and around the toenails and fingernails that occur with some disorders. The nails also show changes.
Common symptoms of clubbing:
Clubbing can develop quickly, often within weeks. It also can go away quickly when its cause is treated.
Lung cancer is the most common cause of clubbing. Clubbing often occurs in heart and lung diseases that reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood. These may include:
Other causes of clubbing:
If you notice clubbing, call your health care provider.
A person with clubbing often has symptoms of another condition. Diagnosing that condition is based on:
The provider may ask questions such as:
The following tests may be done:
There is no treatment for the clubbing itself. The cause of clubbing can be treated, however.
Drake WM, Chowdhury TA. General patient examination and differential diagnosis. In: Glynn M, Drake WM, eds. Hutchison's Clinical Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 2.
Fajardo E, Davis JL. History and physical examination. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King TE, Lazarus SC, Sarmiento KF, Schnapp LM, Stapleton RD, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 18.
Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM. Cyanotic congenital heart lesions: lesions associated with decreased pulmonary blood flow. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 457.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 5/24/2021
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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