top of page

19 Nail Problems Commonly Seen On The Toes

How your toenails look isn't just about aesthetics or being cosmetically appealing, your toenails can tell a deep story about what is going on inside your body. From vitamin deficiencies to recent major illnesses, diabetes, or even cancer, many health issues can be seen as nail problems on your toes. Today we will go over 19 of the most common nail problems of the toes.

1. Onychomycosis (Nail fungus)

nail problems toes

  • Onychomycosis is the medical term for nail fungus, a common fungal infection of the nails of your toes

  • Nail fungus can lead to thick, brittle, and toenails that are different colors like white, yellow, or brown.

  • Caused by several different types of fungus, this condition often starts at the tip of the nail and spreads underneath towards the cuticle.

  • To diagnose nail fungus, a nail biopsy is taken and sent to a lab for confirmation of fungus. This is important to do, because many different nail conditions can look like nail fungus, but are not.

  • Treatment for nail fungus includes topical or oral medications.

nail problems toes

2. Ingrown Toenails

  • An ingrown toenail happens when the edge or corner of a toenail grows into the surrounding. skin, causing pain, redness, swelling, and even drainage that is blood-tinged, or contains pus.

  • Common causes of an ingrown toenail can include incorrect nail trimming and shoes that are too tight.

  • Onyfix is a non-surgical nail correction system that can slowly correct an ingrown toenail over time.

  • Severe cases may require surgery to remove the ingrown part of your toenail.

3. Melanonychia

  • Melanonychia is the name given to a nail that is brown or black in color

  • This color of the nail is caused by melanin, the same pigment which makes your skin darker.

  • Because of this melanonychia is more commonly seen in racial groups that tend to have darker skin.

  • Other causes of melanonychia can also include certain medications, trauma, and fungal or bacterial infection.

  • In some cases, melanonychia can be a sign of cancer. If you are noticing any new pigment changes to a toenail, it is important to see a foot doctor at once. A biopsy will be taken to rule out, or confirm cancer.

4. Psoriasis

  • Psoriasis can affect the skin and toenails, causing pitting of the toenails, toenail color changes, and separation of the toenail from the toenail bed.

  • The toenails affected by psoriasis may become thick and ridged.

5. Onychogryphosis (Ram's Horn Nails)

nail problems toes

  • Onychogryphosis is a very thick, curved, toenail that looks like a ram's horn.

  • Onychogryphosis is caused by long-term neglect of the toenails, trauma, or even certain health conditions.

  • Regular trimming and filing of the toenails are one way to manage the discomfort and effects of onychogryphosis.

6. Beau's Lines

nail problems toes

  • Beau's lines are horizontal grooves or ridges that appear across the toenails due to a temporary interruption in nail growth.

  • Beau's lines can be seen after illness, hospitalization, surgery, or nutrient deficiencies

7. Nail-Patella Syndrome

  • A genetic disorder, Nail-Patella Syndrome is characterized by abnormalities in the toenails, knees, and elbows.

  • Toeails may be absent, very small, or have signs of pitting or ridges.

8. Subungual Hematoma

nail problems toes

  • Subungual hematoma occurs when blood pools or builds up beneath the toenail, often due to trauma like dropping something on your toe, or even just the toes hitting against the inside of your shoes.

  • It results in pain and a red, purple, or black look to the toenail.

  • Small hematomas can be managed at home, but larger ones might require drainage to relieve pressure and discomfort, or pain.

9. Koilonychia (Spoon-Shaped Nails)

nail problems toes

  • Koilonychia causes toenails to become thin and concave, looking like a spoon

  • Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause, along with other health conditions

10. Pincer Nails

nail problems toes

  • Pincer nails cause the sides of the toenail to curve inward.

  • This condition can result in pain and pressure along the toenail edges.

  • Trimming the toenails straight across can offer some pain relief

  • If you're unable to trim your toenails yourself, a foot doctor has the right tools to trim them for you.

  • Onyfix can also be used to help train the toenail to grow out pain-free over time.

  • Nail surgery is also used in pincer nails to remove the borders of the toenail that cause pain, or to remove the whole toenail completely.

11. Yellow Nail Syndrome

nail problems toes

  • Yellow Nail Syndrome is characterized by thickened, slow-growing, and yellowish toenails.

  • Most commonly yellow toenails are caused by staining from nail polish.

  • Other reasons for yellow toenails are lung and lymphatic disease.

12. Nail Lichen Planus

nail problems toes

  • Nail Lichen Planus involves inflammation and scarring of the nail root, leading to pitting, ridges, and toenail thinning.

  • This is commonly seen with the skin condition lichen planus.

13. Median Nail Dystrophy

nail problems toes

  • Median Nail Dystrophy causes splitting, ridging, and thinning of the tpenails.

  • The exact cause of median nail dystrophy is unclear, but trauma and certain health conditions can contribute to this.

14. Alopecia Areata

  • Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that can lead to hair loss and nail changes, including nail problems on your toes.

  • Pits in the toenails and white spots are commonly seen in toenails affected by alopecia areata.

15. Mees' Lines

nail problems toes

  • Mees' lines are horizontal white bands across the toenails, often caused by a temporary stop in nail growth due to illness or chemotherapy.

17. Terry's Nails

nail problems toes

  • Hallmarks of Terry's nails are a white nail plate with a narrow pink band at the tip.

  • Terry's nails are commonly seen in people with liver disease and diabetes.

18. Half-and-Half Nails (Lindsay's Nails)

  • Half-and-half nails look very similar to Terry's Nails, but the locations of the colors are opposite.

  • Half and half nails feature a red or brown tip with a white band as the base.

  • This condition can be associated with chronic kidney disease and other systemic disorders.

19. Trachyonychia (Twenty-Nail Dystrophy)

nail problems toes

  • Trachyonychia causes rough and thin nails, often affecting all 20 nails.

  • It can be related to conditions like eczema or alopecia areata.

  • This is one nail problem of your toes that oftentimes is seen in the fingernails as well.

The End

Personally, as a foot doctor, I find nail problems in the toes so fascinating because of how many diseases can show up in the toenails. Again, if you notice any new changes to the nails on your toes, that are not progressively getting better, find a local podiatrist or foot doctor to see.

Schedule Your Appointment At Direct Podiatry Arizona Today

Are you dealing with nail problems of a toe or toes and live in the Phoenix area? My name is Dr. Tarr, and I am the owner of Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe. To view my available appointment times, click here.

236 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page