Health A-Z

This Is What Your Toenail Reveals About Your Health!

Pay a closer attention to your toenails

Summer it’s on its way! Perfect season for long walks, travel, and adventure. For this type of occasions, I bet you are wearing something comfortable and breathable for your feet. Most likely sandals or slippers or some type of shoe that lets your feet be exposed. While it’s good that you let them see the light of day, you should also pay a closer attention to your toenails.

Why? You know me, I’m all about prevention and observing signs and always being one step ahead of a disease. This is why, I want to teach you what can lurk behind an unpleasant toenail. Changes in your toenails’ color, shape or thickness indicate a systemic disease that usually impacts more than just one nail. This is why being cautious and noticing small changes can help you save not only money, but also a lot of nerves.

Warning signs

Here are some important warning signs that you need to be aware off in order to make sure you act fast:

  • nailHalf and Half Toenails (bottom half of your nail is white and the top half pink) – indicate kidney disease or kidney failure.
  • Splinter Hemorrhage (tiny blood clots under toenails, appear as small vertical red lines similar to a splinter)- a sign of:
  1. rheumatoid arthritis
  2. peptic ulcer disease
  3. malignancies
  4. bacterial endocarditis
  5. trauma to the nail
  6. psoriasis

They could also sometimes occur due to pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives.

  • Toenail Pitting – indicates psoriasis, malnutrition, respiratory disease or, rarely, connective tissue disorders or alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease.
  • Horizontal Indentations (Beau’s lines) – a sign of uncontrolled diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, high fever (from scarlet fever, pneumonia, measles or mumps) or because of a zinc deficiency.
  • Toenail Separation (loosen from the nail bed) – indicative of thyroid disease, hyperthyroidism or psoriasis. It could also be the effect of medication, nail hardeners, adhesives, injury or infection.

Nail changing color

  • Pale or White Toenails – a sign of anemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease or malnutrition. Very white nails are most likely a sign of liver problems, including hepatitis.
  • Yellow Toenails – a sign of thyroid disease, lung or respiratory disease, diabetes or psoriasis. If the nails are also thick and crumbling, this could be a fungal infection.
  • nailBlue Toenails – indicates a lack of oxygen, possibly due to a heart problem, lung infection or pneumonia, or even silver poisoning.


  • nailClubbing of the Toenails (tips of your toes may become enlarged while the nail will curve downward around the tip and may also seem to “float” in the nail bed) – indicate several ailments such as:
  1. lung cancer or other heart and lung conditions, including chronic lung infections or infectious endocarditis
  2. an infection of the lining of the heart chambers and heart valves or a sign of inflammatory bowel disease.

Nail abnormalities

  • Spoon Toenails (nails that curve upward around the edges) – can indicate iron-deficiency anemia, hemochromatosis (excess iron absorption), heart disease or hypothyroidism.
  • Mees’ Lines (discolored lines that cross the width of your toenails) – a sign of:
  1. arsenic poisoning
  2. Hodgkin’s disease
  3. malaria
  4. leprosy
  5. carbon monoxide poisoning
  6. other systemic problems
  • Cracking and Splitting Toenails – a sign of either fungal infection or thyroid disease.
  • White with a Dark Line at the Tip (Terry’s Nails) – can be a sign of liver disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, or just aging.
  • Dark Streaks – a sign of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.


Also, did you know that toenails grow at a rate of .03 millimeters (mm) per day? They do, and this means that you can safely estimate when the systemic condition occurred by measuring the distance between your cuticle and the leading edge of any pigmentation change.

When you notice significant changes in your toenails or nails in general it’s important to check with your doctor first.

Keeping your eyes open and noticing modifications of your body could save you a lot of unnecessary hustle.

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