The Condition of Your Toenails Can Point to Health Problems


The condition of your feet can indicate a variety of health problems, with the condition of the toenails being particularly revelatory. The health and appearance of your toenails can point to many conditions, including infections, nutrient deficiencies, and systemic problems such as liver or artery disease.

Here are some of the signs in your toenails that may indicate you have other health issues:

  • Texture changes—Brittle and crumbling toenails can be caused by using harsh chemicals, detergents, nail polishes, and removers. A fungal toenail infection can also cause thick, brittle toenails to form, but it could also be from an untreated thyroid condition.
  • Striping appears across the toenail—Dark or light striping that appears on your toenails may be a sign of skin cancer. It can also be a sign of low protein levels, which in turn may be indicative of liver disease or poor nutrition.
  • Your toenails get dark green or black—Toenails that turn green or black could be infected with bacteria or the discoloration may be a result of taking antibiotics. Toxic chemicals in nail polish and remover are also a culprit. Dropping a heavy object on your toe can cause an injury that will turn the toenail black.

If you have noticed toenail problems, be sure to have your podiatrist take a look to get the proper diagnosis and treatment. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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