Know the causes, symptoms and treatments of discoloration of the feet, a frequent condition that affects the appearance of the nails.

Learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of toenail discoloration, a common condition that affects the appearance of your nails.

The discoloration of the feet nails refers to any change in the color or appearance of the nails of our fingers. The discoloration of feet nails is a common problem that may be due to various factors, from minor problems to serious underlying conditions. Understanding the causes, symptoms and proper treatment of discoloration of feet nails is crucial to maintain healthy feet and general wel l-being.

Causes: Discoloration of feet nails can be attributed to several factors. A common cause is fungal infections, such as onychomycosis, which occurs when fungi invade nails. Fungal infections can cause yellowish or brownish discoloration of feet nails. Other causes are trauma in the fingers, which make blood accumulate under the nail sheet and cause black or bluish discoloration. Lack of hygiene, excessive use of nail polish and smoking can also cause discoloration of feet nails.

Note: Discoloration of feet nails may indicate an underlying medical condition that requires attention. It is recommended to consult a healthcare professional to obtain adequate diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms: The symptoms of discoloration of the feet nails vary depending on the underlying cause. In general, discoloration may appear in the form of yellow spots or stripes, brown, black, green or even white on the nail surface. In addition, nails can become brittle, swell or develop an unpleasant smell. Some people may also experience pain or discomfort in the affected finger.

  1. Fungal infections
  2. Finger trauma
  3. Poor hygiene
  4. Excessive use of nail polish
  5. Smoke

Treatment: The treatment of the discoloration of the feet nails depends on the underlying cause. In the case of fungal infections, antimicotic medications are usually prescribed, both topical and oral. It is important to systematically follow the prescribed treatment regime to achieve effective results. In case of trauma on the finger, the discoloration may disappear on its own as the injured nail grows. However, if there is intense pain or signs of infection, medical attention should be sought. Maintaining good feet hygiene, such as washing and drying them regularly, as well as avoiding prolonged use of nail polish, can help prevent and treat the discoloration of feet nails.

Causes Symptoms Treatment
Fungal infections Yellow, brown, or black discoloration Brittle or thickened nails Unpleasant odor Antifungal medications Topical and oral treatments Consistent adherence to regimen
Finger trauma Black or bluish discoloration Pain or discomfort Swelling Allow time for the nail to grow Pain control Seek medical attention if severe
Poor hygiene Discoloration and bad smell of nails Regular washing and drying of feet Proper nail care Avoid prolonged use of nail polish

Understanding Toe Nail Discoloration: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Causes of toenail discoloration:

  • Fungal infection: One of the most common causes of toenail discoloration is a fungal infection. Fungus thrives in warm, moist environments, making toenails susceptible to infection. This can cause yellow, brown, or greenish discoloration of the nails.
  • Injuries: Trauma or injury to the toe can cause discoloration of the nail. Blood can pool under the nail, causing it to turn purple, brown, or black.
  • Nail psoriasis: Psoriasis, a chronic skin disease, can also affect the nails. In nail psoriasis, the nails may appear yellowish, pitted, or have a reddish-brown discoloration.
  • Vitamin deficiency: Deficiencies of certain vitamins, such as vitamin B and vitamin E, can cause nail discoloration. Nails may turn yellow, brittle, or have white spots.

Note: It is essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis, as toenail discoloration may also indicate underlying systemic diseases or conditions.

Symptoms of toenail discoloration:

  1. Change in nail color: The most obvious symptom of toenail discoloration is a noticeable change in nail color. It can be yellowish, brown or black.
  2. Nail thickening: Nails may also become thicker and brittle than usual. They can be difficult to cut and break easily.
  3. Changes in nail texture: Nail discoloration may also be accompanied by changes in texture, such as pitting, ridges, or crumbling of the nail plate.
  4. Pain or discomfort: In some cases, toenail discoloration may be associated with pain, sensitivity or swelling around the affected nail.

Important: Early detection and prompt treatment can help prevent complications and further damage to the nails and underlying tissues.

Fungal Infections: The Leading Cause of Toe Nail Discoloration

Signs and symptoms: Fungal toenail infections usually manifest as a change in the color, shape, and texture of the nail. The affected nail may become discolored, turning yellow, brown, or even black. In some cases, white spots or stretch marks may be observed. The nail may also appear thickened, brittle, and brittle. Additionally, people may experience discomfort, pain, or an unpleasant odor emanating from the infected nail.

It is essential to treat nail discoloration promptly as it can interfere with daily activities and self-esteem. Early medical intervention is crucial to prevent the progression of fungal infections and achieve satisfactory treatment results.

  • Causes: Fungal infections are usually caused by dermatophytes, a group of fungi known for their ability to invade and grow in human tissues. However, yeasts and molds can also contribute to toenail discoloration. These fungi thrive in warm, humid environments, such as public showers, swimming pools, and gyms.
  • Risk factors: Numerous factors can increase a person’s susceptibility to fungal infections. These include advanced age, diabetes, reduced blood circulation, a weakened immune system, psoriasis, frequent exposure to moisture, wearing tight shoes or non-breathable socks, and certain lifestyle habits such as walking barefoot inpublic areas.
  • Prevention: Proper foot hygiene and taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of fungal infections. This includes keeping your feet clean and dry, wearing well-ventilated shoes made of natural materials, avoiding walking barefoot in public areas, changing socks regularly, and using antifungal powders or sprays if necessary.
  1. Treatment: When it comes to fungal infections, early intervention and proper treatment are essential to resolve the condition. Over-the-counter antifungal creams, liquids, or nail polishes may be effective in mild cases. However, more serious or persistent infections may require prescription medications, such as oral antifungals or medicated nail lacquers. In severe cases, surgery, such as nail removal, may be considered.
  2. Consultation: It is highly recommended that people suffering from toenail discoloration consult a medical professional, such as a dermatologist or podiatrist. These professionals can accurately diagnose the condition and recommend the treatment plan best suited to each person’s needs.
Quick facts:
Fact 1: Fungal infections represent approximately 50% of all nail abnormalities.
DATA 2: Fungal infections can affect both feet nails and hands, although it is more frequent that they affect feet nails.
DATA 3: Nail fungi infections are more frequent in older adults due to the reduction of blood circulation and weakening of the immune system.

Yellowing of the Nails: Potential Indicators of Health Conditions

Causes and possible conditions:

  1. Infectious causes such as fungal infections: fungal nail infections, also known as onychomycosis, can cause discoloration, thickening and brittle nails of yellow or brown color.
  2. No n-infectious causes, such as chronic respiratory conditions: conditions such as chronic bronchitis, asthma or emphysema can cause inappropriate oxygen supply to nails, giving rise to a yellowish dye.
  3. Jaundice: nail yellowing can be a sign of liver dysfunction, which can occur in conditions such as hepatitis or liver cirrhosis. Jaundice is characterized by a yellowish coloration of the skin and nails due to the accumulation of bilirubin.

It is essential to pay attention to changes in nail color, as they can provide valuable information about our wel l-being.

It is essential to consult a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of any underlying health problem associated with the yellowish color of the nails.

Dark Spots on Toenails: Causes and Treatment Options

Causes of dark spots on feet:

  • FUNGIC INFECTION: One of the most common causes of dark spots on feet is a fungal infection. Fungi prosper in humid environments, so feet nails are an ideal breeding ground. This can cause discoloration, thickening and collapse of affected nails.
  • Injuries: A trauma in the fing on foot, such as a blow or the fall of a heavy object over it, can cause the appearance of dark spots. This discoloration is usually due to the accumulation of blood under the nail bed.
  • Psoriasis: People with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease, can develop dark spots or chips on feet. Psoriasis can affect nails, making them thicker, yellowish and prone to stain.

IMPORTANT: It is important to note that dark spots on feet nail should not be ignored, since they could indicate an underlying medical condition that requires immediate attention. If you are not sure of the cause of discoloration or if it is accompanied by pain, swelling or other worrying symptoms, it is highly recommended to go to the doctor.

Treatment options:

  1. Antifungal medications: If the cause of dark spots is a fungal infection, over-the-counter antifungal creams or oral medications may be prescribed to eliminate the infection and improve the appearance of the nails.
  2. Nail care and protection: Proper nail care, such as keeping them clean and trimmed, can help prevent further damage or infection. It is also important to protect your toenails from trauma by wearing appropriate footwear.
  3. Topical steroids or systemic treatments: In cases where psoriasis is the underlying cause, topical steroids or systemic treatments may be recommended to control the condition and reduce nail discoloration.

White Spots on Toenails: A Closer Look at Possible Causes

Fungal infection: One of the most common causes of white spots on toenails is a fungal infection, medically known as onychomycosis. This infection can occur when fungal organisms penetrate the nail bed, causing changes in the color, texture, and shape of the affected nail. Fungal infections thrive in warm, humid environments, so toenails are susceptible to them. People who frequent public swimming pools or locker rooms, or who have a weakened immune system, are especially at risk of developing nail fungal infections. These infections can be difficult to treat and require antifungal medications or topical solutions.

Fact: Fungal infections are the most common cause of white spots on toenails.

Trauma or injury: Another possible cause of white spots on toenails is trauma or injury to the nail bed. Hitting your toe, dropping heavy objects on your foot, or repeatedly putting pressure on your toe can cause discoloration and white spots. These spots usually indicate damage to the nail matrix, which is responsible for the production of healthy nail tissue. In most cases, white spots gradually disappear as the nail grows, and no specific treatment is required. However, medical attention should be sought if there is severe pain, swelling, or discharge.

  1. Fact: Trauma or injury to the nail bed can cause white spots to appear on the toenails.
Possible causes of white spots on toenails:
fungal infection Trauma or injury
mineral deficiency Nail psoriasis

It is important to note that other factors, such as mineral deficiencies or nail psoriasis, can also cause white spots on the feet. If white spots persist, extend or are accompanied by other worrying symptoms, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional to obtain adequate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Black Toenails: Understanding the Factors Behind the Discoloration

A possible cause of black nails is a trauma or finger injury. This can occur due to vigorous physical activities such as running, dancing or practicing sports. Repetitive pressure or friction on feet nails can cause bleeding under the nail, which gives rise to a black appearance. In addition, the use of tight shoes that excess excessive pressure can also contribute to this condition. It is important to note that, although black nails caused by trauma are usually not a reason for great concern, they can be painful and require medical intervention if complications arise.

Important: black nails of the feet can also be a sign of fungal infections, specifically a type called subungual hematoma caused by Trichophyton Rubrum. This fungus develops in warm and humid environments, such as common showers or swimming pools. If you observe a black discoloration accompanied by bad smell, thickening or collapse of the nail, it is recommended to seek medical attention for adequate diagnosis and treatment.

In some cases, black nails may indicate a underlying systemic condition or disease. Medical conditions such as peripheral arteriopathy or diabetes can affect blood flow and increase the risk of developing subungual bruises. In addition, certain medications can cause changes in nail pigmentation, giving rise to black discoloration. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional if you notice persistent black nails or some accompanying symptom to rule out possible underlying health problems.

  1. Black nails can occur due to trauma or physical injuries on the fingers.
  2. Tight shoes and repetitive pressure on the fingers can contribute to the appearance of black nails.
  3. Fungal infections, specifically caused by Trichophyton Rubrum, can cause black discoloration.
  4. Other diseases or medications can also cause the appearance of black nails.

Factors that contribute to the black nails of the feet
Causes Signs and symptoms
Trauma or injury Pain, bleeding, black discoloration
Fungal infections Thickening, crumbling, bad smell
Medical conditions Underlying systemic diseases, changes in nail pigmentation

Blue or Purple Toenails: Identifying the Underlying Causes

A possible cause of blue or purple feet is a condition known as cyanosis. Cianosis is characterized by a bluish or violet dye in the skin or mucous membranes, and occurs when blood oxygen levels are low. When blood lacks oxygen, its color is darker, which gives rise to a bluish or purple tone in the nail bed. Cianosis may be due to various factors, such as respiratory problems, heart conditions or circulatory disorders. In addition, exposure to cold temperatures during prolonged periods can also cause limit cynosis, including feet fingers.

Note: Blue or purple feet nails can be a symptom of cyanosis, which is characterized by low blood oxygen levels. Cianosis may be due to respiratory, cardiovascular or circulatory problems. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can also cause cyanosis.

  1. Respiratory problems:
    When the lungs are unable to effectively oxygenate blood, cyanosis can occur. A conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia or asthma can cause inadequate oxygen absorption, with the consequent blue or purple coloring of the nails.
  2. Cardiovascular disorders:
    Cardiac conditions, such as congestive heart failure or congenital heart defects, can cause cyanosis due to the deterioration of blood circulation. When the heart is unable to pump oxyge n-rich blood efficiently, poor oxygen blood may appear bluish or purple in nail beds.
  3. Circulatory disorders:
    Bad blood circulation, often caused by peripheral arteriopathy or Raynaud’s disease, can also cause limb cyanosis, including feet fingers. The reduction of blood flow deprives the adequate oxygen tissues, which causes nail discoloration.

Green Discoloration: When Toenails Take on Unusual Hues


  • FUNGIC INFECTION: A common cause of green decoloration is a fungal infection called onychomycosis. This infection usually begins on the tip or on the sides of the nail and can extend more deeply in the nail matrix, causing a greenish tone.
  • Trauma: punctures or foot injuries can cause a subungual hematoma, in which blood accumulates under the nail. As blood decomposes, greenish discoloration can occur.
  • Side effects of medicines: some medications, such as certain antibiotics or antifungals, can cause nails to become green as a side effect. This discoloration is usually temporary and will disappear by stopping taking the medication.

It is important to note that green discoloration of toenails is not always indicative of a serious condition. However, in some cases, it may be a sign of an underlying problem or infection that requires medical attention.

Discoloration Due to Trauma: Understanding the Effects of Injury on Toenails

Understanding the effects of toenail injuries

  1. Subungual hematoma: A common injury that can cause toenail discoloration is a subungual hematoma, which refers to the collection of blood under the nail bed. This occurs when there is a direct impact or crushing force on the toe, which leads to bleeding and subsequent discoloration.
  2. Fungal infection: Trauma to the toenail can also make it more susceptible to fungal infections. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, and an injured nail provides an entry point for these organisms. As the infection progresses, discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nail may occur.

It is important to seek medical attention if you experience significant discoloration or changes to your toenails as a result of trauma. A healthcare professional can accurately diagnose the underlying cause and offer appropriate treatment options.

*Note: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any nail-related problem.

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

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