Toenail Discoloration Treatment

Toenail Discoloration Causes, Types and Treatments

Our Foot Specialists of Waukesha Provide Toe Discoloration Diagnosis

Our foot specialists in Waukesha and Milwaukee area have seen a lot of patients with toenail discoloration, some with serious conditions, some not.

Causes of Toenail Discoloration

Below, we have listed the most common, and uncommon, causes of toenail discoloration.

Most Common:

  • Toenail Discoloration from Diabetes
  • Toenail Discoloration from Running
  • Toenail Discoloration after Removing Polish
  • Toenail Discoloration after a Pedicure
  • Toenail Discoloration after Injury
  • Toenail Discoloration During Pregnancy
  • Toenail Discoloration from Fungus
  • Toenail Discoloration from Ingrown Toenail

Less Common:

  • Toenail Discoloration from HIV/AIDS
  • Toenail Discoloration from Melanoma or Other Cancers
  • Toenail Discoloration after Chemo

Toenail discoloration typically occurs with toenail infections or skin conditions. However, toenail discoloration can also be evidence of more serious health issues including diabetes or other diseases of the liver, heart, kidneys or lungs.

Types of Toenail Discoloration

Below, our foot doctors in Waukesha have provided the most common types of toenail discoloration and their causes.

Yellow Toenails

Most toenail fungus begins with a yellow spot under the nail. If left untreated, toenail fungus can spread deeper and to other toes. Nail infections aren’t usually a serious health issue. However for diabetics, an unchecked fungal infection could lead to serious health complications. Yellow toenails can also occur in patients with serious pulmonary diseaselymphedema (swelling of the hands and feet), lung diseasechronic bronchitisdiabetes and liver disorders. Yellow toenails may also appear when there has been a separation from the nail (onycholysis).

Green Toenails

Most green toenails are caused by common toenail fungus, usually Trichophyton rubrum.

Black Toenails

Black toenails can be caused by a hematoma (collection of blood) under the nail bed after an injury to the site. They are also commonly caused by ingrown toenails. Black toenails can be a sign of gangrene or cancer, although this is extremely rare.

Red Toenails

Red toenails may be the result of a hematoma under the nail. This is usually due to a toenail injury or trauma. Red toenails can also be caused by ingrown toenails. Red toenails may be associated with a heart condition.

Brown Toenails

Brown toenails typically result from wearing too tight of shoes. They can also occur in older patients. Brown toenails may be present on one toe or multiple toes. Brown toenails are more susceptible to toenail fungus and therefore should be monitored closely.

Blue Toenails

Blue toenails can be caused by actual “cold feet”, which may be the result of poor blood circulation. Poor circulation in feet may be due to certain lung conditions like COPD or heavy smoking, which can reduce oxygen in your blood. Another reason for blue toenails may be due to narrowing arteries and restricted blood flow caused by Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or other heart diseases.

White Toenails

White nails aren’t necessarily a health issue. A white spot at the base of the nail is usually not serious. However, a white mark at the tip could be of concern. This may indicate a developing toenail fungus or it may be a sign of an injury which is causing the nail to separate from the nail bed. White nails present since birth are usually genetic (inherited). However, when they happen in older adults, they may be a sign of much more serious illnesses such as hepatic cirrhosischronic renal failurecongestive heart failurechronic hypoalbuminemiadiabetes mellitus, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. White nails with a rim of darker color at the tip of the nail may be a sign of cirrhosis of the liver.

Toenail Discoloration Treatment in Waukesha and Milwaukee Area

Many over-the-counter medications and sprays aren’t effective treatments for toenail fungus. They may improve the appearance, but they don’t remove the actual infection. Doctor-prescribed medication is more effective for toenail discoloration caused by fungus. However, you may have to take the prescribed medication for up to a year.

Our foot doctors in Waukesha and Milwaukee area prefer to use toenail fungus laser treatment, which has proven to be 88-90% effective on toenail fungus with each treatment taking just 10 minutes. Most patients need only 2-4 treatments.

Patients who have toenail discoloration from arthritis or poor circulation typically see the best treatment results with MLS Laser Therapy, which takes 10-20 minutes per session. Most patients need only 1-3 sessions.

Other forms of toe discoloration will persist until diagnosed and treated by an experienced podiatrist or medical doctor, depending on the underlying cause.

Our Podiatrists Effectively Treat the Underlying Cause of Toenail Discoloration

If you need a toenail discoloration diagnosis, make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists in Waukesha or Milwaukee area. We’ll accurately diagnose the underlying cause, prescribe the most effective treatment for your specific condition and we’ll give you ways to prevent future toenail discoloration. If there is a more serious health condition associated with the toenail discoloration we can refer you to the best specialist near you.

Contact our foot doctors in Waukesha now to schedule an appointment at any of our conveniently located clinics in Southeast Wisconsin.

Brookfield Office

Phone: (262) 781-0200

17495 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield, WI 53045

Bayside Office

Phone: (414) 761-0981

320 W. Brown Deer Rd., Bayside, WI 53217

Franklin Office

Phone: (414) 761-0981

8153 S. 27th St., 400, Franklin, WI 53132

New Berlin Office

Phone: (262) 781-0200

15324 W. Beloit Rd., New Berlin, WI 53151

Germantown Office

Phone: (262) 781-0200

N112W15237 Mequon Rd., Germantown, WI 53022

Great Midwest Foot and Ankle Centers

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