Discolored Toenails

Black Toenails

Trauma to the toenail, such as dropping a heavy item on the foot, can result in a black, purple, or brownish discoloration under or involving a toenail. This coloration is the result of a blood clot or bleeding under the nail. It can involve the entire nail or just a small portion of it. When a second or third toenail is involved it is referred to as “runner’s toe.” This affliction can be the result of the toenail being too long, or the shoe being too big or too tight. Although rare, a more serious cause of black toenails is malignant melanoma. Other rare causes of black toenails include fungal infections, chronic ingrown nails, or health problems affecting the rest of the body. Laser therapy is a proven solution for discolored or fungal nail infections.

“A black toenail doesn’t necessarily require a doctor’s visit but knowing the cause can help make this decision. If you don’t know the cause of a black toenail, it is important to see your doctor as it can be a sign of a serious medical condition.”

White Toenails

White spots or lines on toenails are typically indicative of trauma. When something is dropped on a toenail, bleeding from broken blood vessels can lead to black toenails. However, if the trauma does not cause broken blood vessels, a white spot may appear under the nail. Further, white lines may occur on the toenail due to recurring trauma. This can occur when a runner’s shoes are too small, and the toe repeatedly hits the end of the shoe. White lines can also occur in the nail due to a medical illness or trauma elsewhere in the body that results in protein being deposited within the nail bed. Fungal infections that affect the outermost layer of the toenail can also cause a bright white discoloration. Laser therapy is a proven solution for discolored or fungal nail infections.

“Nail fungus can affect fingernails but is far more common in toenails and can lead to white spots. Trauma can also cause white spots or lines in the toenail.”

Yellow Toenails

Discolored toenails, such as yellow toenails, are usually the result of a fungal infection, with the fungus growing underneath the nail. As a result, the nail thickens and becomes yellow in color. However, there are other causes of yellow toenails, such as diabetes mellitus and lymphedema (chronic leg swelling).Laser therapy is a proven solution for discolored or fungal nail infections.

“Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the toenail that can lead to white or yellow nail discoloration, thickening of the nail, and separation of the nail from the nail bed. Onychomycosis accounts for one-third of fungal skin infections.”