It is likely that at some point in your life if you haven’t already, you will look down at your feet and notice a toenail that might be black and blue or some other abnormal color. The toenails are incredibly durable, yet they are still susceptible to various infections and injuries. And if you are suffering from a painful toenail or you notice strange discoloration, it is a clear indication that something isn’t right. In this post, we will take a look at four kinds of nail discolorations and the probable reasons for them.
- Fungal Infection: If you notice your nail is irritated, painful, and yellow, there is a 50% chance it is caused by the extremely common fungal infection. For something like this, you could either ride it out, so to speak, and wait for the infection to go away or visit a podiatrist to get some prescribed oral medication or a topical treatment. The latter option is generally best, especially for infections that don’t go away or worsen or for anyone who wants their fungal infection to go away as soon as possible.
- Certain Prescription Medications: If someone is undergoing chemotherapy, there is a chance that their nails will get darker (this is known as hyperpigmentation). If you are taking certain medications along with the chemotherapy, the patient might notice white bands in their fingernails and toenails. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and take medication for it, there is a chance that there is gold in your medication. And this gold is known to turn nails into a light or even dark shade of brown. If you are taking the medication chloroquine for an autoimmune disease or for a parasitic infection, there is a chance your nails will turn a dark blue or black. If you aren’t convinced your nails are a different color because of medication, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a podiatry specialist to rule out any other conditions and get a precise diagnosis.
- Injury: Just as fungal infections are one of the biggest culprits of discolored nails, so too are injuries. It isn’t at all unusual to notice that your toenails will turn a dark shade of blue or black a few days after stubbing it or getting stepped on. This is caused by a pool of blood that is sitting underneath your nail. It can take several days or even weeks before the discoloration goes away completely. However if it starts to become painful or the area around the nail becomes inflamed or irritated, you will need to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist right away to make sure nothing else is going on and that you can get the right treatment if something is. Additionally, if it is an injury, stay away from tight, poorly fitted shoes since this will just get in the way of a swift recovery process.
- A Birth Deformity: If you notice a peculiar nail color on your infant, chances are it’s a birth deformity. In some cases, a baby could be born without any toenails at all (this is called “anonychia”). In other situations, if a baby has red or white streaks on their nails, it is caused by a conditioned known as Darier disease. If you notice strange colors on your baby’s nails, contact your primary care physician. However, if you have a child or teenager with strange toenail discolorations, it is best to take them to a podiatrist, since the cause of their discoloration is likely due to an infection or sports injury.
Have any questions related to nail discoloration and other nail conditions? Don’t hesitate to contact us today at our Great Neck Office for more information. You can also keep reading our other blog posts for more free resources or visit our official website to take a look at all of our podiatry services.