How Your Toenails Can Reveal Health Problems


The physical shape of your toenails can be indicative of a variety of health problems including nutritional deficiencies, chronic diseases such as diabetes, and bacterial and fungal toenail infections. Always pay attention to the color and texture of your toenails since they can be one of the first places that are affected.

Changes to your toenails that may indicate other health issues include:

  • Stripes across the toenail—If you notice darkened stripes across your toenails, it may be an indication of a skin cancer that grows in the nail bed. If you notice white stripes it can be sign of nutrient deficiencies, liver and kidney problems, and inadequate protein in your diet.

  • Thickened and brittle toenails—Your toenails can become thickened and more brittle from exposure to chemicals like cleaners, polishes, and the acetone in nail polish removers. Thickening of the toenail may also be a sign of a fungal toenail infection, psoriasis, or a thyroid problem.

  • Toenails that are black, green, or yellowing—Toxic nail polishes and removers can cause severe discoloration of the toenails. If your toenails look black or have a greenish tinge, it may be the result of an injury to the toe or infection. Certain antibiotics may have the side effect of causing the toenails to change color.

If you are concerned about the condition of your toenails, we highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!