What are the signs of toenail problems?

Toenail symptoms include a variety of irregularities of the toenails, such as changes in the color, texture, shape, size or structure of the toenails. These abnormalities can arise from a number of systemic causes, including disease, nutritional deficiency, infection or injury. Toenail abnormalities may also be caused by localized inflammation or infection.

Specific types of toenail abnormalities include Beau’s lines (trenches that run across the nail), koilonychia (concave, spoon-like nail shape), leukonychia (white spots appearing under the nail), onycholysis (separation of the nail from the underlying skin), pitting (sporadic pits in the nail), ridges, yellow nail, and clubbing. Clubbing is a condition in which the nails curve abnormally due to thickening of the skin beneath the nails. It is seen in a variety of diseases in which the oxygen levels in the bloodstream are abnormally low, such as diseases of the heart and lungs.

While toenail symptoms are not typically a serious problem, some toenail symptoms may be associated with a symptom of a serious systemic infection or disease within the body. The occurrence of localized inflammation or infections of the toenails, often caused by bacteria or fungus, can be reduced through proper care and grooming of the toenails and by keeping the skin around the toenails clean and dry.

Some toenail symptoms can be evidence of a serious condition. Seek prompt medical care if you notice changes in the color, shape or texture of your toenailsor the skin around your toenails, or if you experience toenailpain, have pus around your toenails, or experience persistent toe nail infections. If your toenail symptoms are persistent or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as coughing up mucus, difficulty breathing, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), and watery diarrhea containing pus or blood, as these could be signs of a life-threatening condition.


What other symptoms might occur with toenail symptoms?

Toenail symptoms may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the toenails may also involve other body systems.

Localized symptoms that may occur along with toenail symptoms

Additional localized symptoms may be present in areas around toenail abnormalities including:


What causes toenail symptoms?

Toenail symptoms can have many different causes that may include local events, such as injury to the toenail, or systemic conditions affecting your body as a whole. While some local events, such as trauma, may not be serious, systemic events that lead to toenail abnormalities can be serious or life threatening.

Localized causes of toenail symptoms

Toenail abnormalities ... Read more about toenail symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

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