Changes in Your Toenails Could Mean Trouble


Becoming intimately familiar with your toenails may not be high on your to-do list, but the podiatrists at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center in Howell, New Jersey recommend that you have at least a general familiarity with these lower appendages. Just as you know and love the face of your beloved and can tell when something’s wrong just by looking at him or her, so you should know and love your toenails, looking out for signs that something’s gone amiss.

When toenails change their appearance, it’s probably due to one of these seven causes:

  1. The normal aging process. Nails change along with the rest of us as we get older. They may become thick, yellowed, or more brittle. The rate of nail growth can also slow down.
  2. Medications. Certain drugs, including antibiotics, can cause a nail to change color or become separated from its bed. Chemotherapy can cause nail growth to slow down.
  3. Injury. Permanent changes in nail shape or color can occur as a result of a crushing injury.
  4. Poisons. Colloidal silver, touted by some as cures for everything from HIV/AIDS to eye infections, is actually a poison that can turn skin and nails blue. Arsenic poisoning colors nails white and makes them appear pitted.
  5. Infection. Viral warts and fungus are two of the biggest culprits behind brittle or crumbling nails. Red streaks in toenails may also indicate infection.
  6. Disease. Changes in your nails such as splitting, pitting, ridges, the appearance of black streaks, and more, can indicate a number of diseases, including hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, psoriasis, and even melanoma.
  7. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Lack of vitamin B12 is a big one.

To nip disease, infection, or malnutrition in the bud, monitor changes in your toenails and call us with your concerns at our Monmouth County podiatry office at (732) 905-1110. Make an appointment with Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Joseph Saka, or Dr. Katy Statler, our board-certified podiatrists, if your nails have changed their shape, color, or look funny or different to you in any way.