What the Condition of Your Toenails Says About Your Health

The color and texture of your toenails can be a warning sign of systemic problems such as nutritional deficiencies, systemic diseases like diabetes or peripheral artery disease, and bacterial and fungal toenail infections. Since the indications of a variety of health problems often show up in your hands, feet, and ankles first, monitoring the condition of your toenails can help give you a heads up that you may need to have some testing done.

Toenail changes that may be indicative of other health issues include the following:

  • Stripes running across the toenail—The appearance of dark stripes running across your toenails may be an indication of a type of skin cancer that grows underneath the nail in the nail bed. This can be melanoma, so always have your foot doctor look at any abnormal coloration. White stripes running across the nail can be a sign of liver disease, nutritional deficiencies, or not getting enough protein in the diet.
  • Toenails that are thick and brittle—Your toenails can become extremely thick and brittle from exposure to harsh chemicals such as found in nail polishes and from the acetone found in most nail polish removers. Thick and yellow toenails could also be indicative of a fungal toenail infection, psoriasis, or a possibly a thyroid disorder.
  • Yellowing or blackening of the toenails—Using nail polishes and removers can also cause discoloration of the toenail. Black toenails may be the result of an injury like a stubbed toe, or of a microbial infection. Also, antibiotics can have the side effect of causing the toenails to become darkened.

If the color and texture of your toenails is worrisome, be sure to have your foot doctor examine them to determine the cause. Call Syracuse Podiatry located in East Syracuse, New York. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico, Dr. Kathleen Pyatak-Hugar and their staff will help you diagnose and treat your foot or ankle condition. Call 315-446-3668 or make an appointment online today.

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