Podiatrist in San Leandro, CA
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By Dr. Michael Stein
July 16, 2014
Category: Toenail Health

Black toenailsTypically nail color has names like “bubble gum pink” or “lipstick red,” but when your toes take on the hue of yellowish-brown or black, that’s called nail discoloration and the causes are not pretty!

Your body works hard to heal itself. One way of doing so is by alerting you to any abnormalities or injuries it might be experiencing. This is especially true with your feet and nails. While nail discoloration may seem harmless, it could be your feet’s way of indicating a more serious underlying issue.

Yellow toenails usually are caused by fungal or bacterial infections. If you have brittle or weak nails, or suffer from diabetes, you could be especially at risk of this condition occurring. This is particularly true for those who might neglect regular feet washing as well as athletes who are prone to heavier sweating. Fungi thrive in warm, wet shoes.

Keep your nails from going yellow by wearing footwear that allows your toes and feet to breathe. Wash your feet often, and always don protective sandals when entering locker rooms and gym showers.

To return your nails to their normal hue, it’s essential to seek treatment for the underlying cause. In most cases, this means antifungal medications. For some, yellow nails are simply caused by nail polish. In these instances, you may just have to wait for the nail to return to normal on its own.

Black nailsare caused by blood pooling beneath the nail. Just as with bruises, black toenails are formed by trauma or injury to the area. From stubbed toes to soccer games, your feet are often exposed to harm. However, fungal infections can also lead to discoloration of this kind.

If you suffer from this condition, one option is to make a small incision into the nail to drain the darkening fluid, or you may opt to remove the nail completely and allow a new nail to replace it.

For more information, call Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM at Foot Doctor of the East Bay in San Leandro, Pleasanton, or Los Gatos, CA.

 

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