Your toenail’s color should be clear and almost translucent. But sometimes, your toenail can be a different color like yellow, purple, or brown, a condition known as chromonychia, and several factors can cause it.
Whenever you notice a change in your toenail’s natural color, you should seek help immediately. Check out some of the causes of toenail discoloration below.
Causes of Brown Spots on Your Toenail
Most issues causing brown spots on your toenail are medically related. Many of these problems can be treated. However, a few of them defy curative medicine.
Some causes of brown spots on your toenail include:
The medical term for nail fungus is onychomycosis, and this condition is a prevailing cause for toenail discoloration.
Dermatophytes cause toenail fungus. They grow by feeding on your body’s keratin layers. When infected, your toenail changes color from the nail tip, which then spreads throughout the entire nail’s area.
A reddish-brown spot on your toenail typifies onychomycosis. Other colors that might reflect are green, yellow, and black. Factors contributing to onychomycosis include walking barefoot outdoors, frequent and profuse sweating, and cuts around your nail area.
Furthermore, people that show a higher risk of contracting nail fungus are older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
Another prevailing cause for chromonychia is injury. Sportspeople experience this condition a lot because of the injuries they experience close to their nail area. You can also experience this condition when you wear tight shoes or hit your foot on something.
You might first notice a red or purple tint in your toenail, which will change to brown after a while. The color might also change to black.
Melanoma or Psoriasis
Melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer that causes brown spots on your toenails. These spots will grow more prominent by the day and then spread to the skin beside the nail. It will continue to spread until you treat it.
A doctor can determine whether the brown spot is a sign of melanoma or not. Other causes of brown spots in the nail area are vitamin deficiency, psoriasis, and heart-related issues.
Sometimes, a change in your toenail color can result as a side effect of the medication you are using. Rheumatoid arthritis drugs will change the color of your toenails to either light or dark brown.
Therefore, the most likely cause for brown spots in your toenail when you are on medications is the drug.
Treatment Options for Brown Spots on Your Toenails
Your options for treating these spots will depend on the cause of the discoloration. You have to use fungal remedies to treat fungal-related spots. For others, your doctor is your best option. Let’s check out some of your options.
How to Treat Nail Fungus
If you do not feel any pain in the affected nail region, the fungal infection is probably mild. You may use normal antifungal medications, those that contain clotrimazole or terbinafine. You may also try out some home antifungal remedies to help cure the ailment.
If you feel pain or notice that your nail is crumbling or hardening, then your nail fungus case is a severe one. You should visit a doctor to diagnose and provide treatment options for you.
If you do not treat nail fungus on time, your nail can get damaged severely and permanently.
How to Treat Injury-related Brown Spots
Injuries will heal by themselves, though it might take a while. To aid the healing process, try to relax the affected foot. If you feel pain in that area, you may use an ice pack on your toenail to relieve you.
However, you should note that it may take several months before your toenail regains its natural color. Visit a doctor if the pain is too severe to bear. They will diagnose and provide treatment to alleviate the injury.
How to Treat Melanoma and Other Health-related Brown Spots
Melanoma is the most severe of all skin cancers, and its treatment depends on the stage of the disease you currently are. People at the early stages of this cancer have more chances of being cured than those at the middle and late stages.
Curative measures include surgery, radiation, medication, and chemotherapy. If you do not treat melanoma early, it can prove deadly.
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes the skin cells to multiply rapidly. This condition causes red, itchy, and scaly patches on different parts of your skin. Treatment ranges from medication, topical ointments, and light therapy.
You should note, however, that this condition cannot be cured, only managed. Psoriasis can also last for a lifetime.
It is always best to see a medical professional immediately if you detect something is wrong. While your suspicions may not be easily aroused by the developing brown spots on your toenails, you should watch out for other signs and symptoms of these nail diseases.
It is also not a bad idea to see the doctor once you notice brown spots on your toenail. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
How to Treat Medication-related Brown Spots
There is nothing you can do about medication-related brown spots if you have not completed your dose.
If you are seriously concerned about these spots, you can talk to your doctor. Perhaps, they can help you with other medications.
How to Treat Nail Polish-related Brown Spots
For nail polish-related brown spots, your only option is to stop using nail polish. By doing this, you will give your body time to reassert dominance over the chemicals in the keratin layers of your toenail.
How to Prevent Toenail Discoloration
Preventing toenail discoloration is pretty straightforward. All you need is a bit of vigilance and discipline. Some things you can do to avoid toenail discoloration include:
- Wash your feet regularly and moisturize the nails.
- Wear shoes that allow air to circulate your feet.
- Trim your toenails and smooth the edges.
- Be vigilant while walking or doing any sporting activity.
- Don’t wear clothing on wet feet.
- Don’t wear nail polish for extended periods, say two weeks at a go.
Your nails are vital to healthy body growth. Always clean and moisturize them. Also, you should eat balanced diets to ensure your nails grow healthy. If you notice any strange occurrences on your toenails, see a health professional immediately.
ALWAYS SEEK A PROFESSIONAL DOCTOR’S ADVICE FOR ANY DISEASE. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ABOVE IS ONLY FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES AND SHOULD NEVER BE TREATED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO A PROFESSIONAL’S ADVICE.