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Strong Nails: What Your Toenails Say About Your Health

Posted by Miracle of Aloe ,04/30/24
Strong Nails: What Your Toenails Say About Your Health

Bodies have unique ways of communicating. If you notice anything odd about your toenails, such as discoloration or horizontal lines, it could be your body's way of letting you know something is wrong.

What your toenails say about your health can have a tremendous impact on the years to come, so listen to what they are trying to communicate. Of course, it is not always the easiest to understand these messages, so check out these tips.

What Your Toenails Say About Your Health: 4 Things To Watch For.

The shape, growth, color, and texture of your toenails can indicate good health. If your toenails are pinkish and smooth with no discoloration, that is a good sign. However, many people, especially as they get older, notice toenail problems.

1. Beau’s Lines: You Are (Or Were) Very Stressed or Seriously Ill

 Beau’s Lines is associated with stress. Vertical ridges on toenails or fingernails are usually normal, especially among older people. However, if you notice side-to-side grooves or trenches on your nails, you could be under stress or sick. Alternatively, you may have dropped something on your toes.

These horizontal lines are called Beau’s lines. They are especially interesting because they may affect just a few nails or all of them. They appear as sideways horizontal dents and can vary in prominence. Serious illness or deep stress interrupting the growth of your nails are two possible causes. When you see Beau's lines, what your toenails say about your health may be, "The body has to redirect energy to urgent matters that require more immediate attention. The growth of the toenails will have to wait."

If you notice these lines when you are dealing with severe mental or emotional trauma such as a spouse’s death, that could be the cause. Examples of physical illness that can Beau's lines include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Heart attack
  • Pneumonia
  • Strep infections
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Chronic health issues such as diabetes or hypothyroidism can also interfere with the blood flow to your nail matrix. In addition, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can result in Beau’s lines, as can dropping a heavy object on your toenails or suffering extreme cold exposure.

The lines may show up weeks or months after the stress or nail damage and do not have treatments per se. However, addressing the underlying cause can prevent the lines from returning once they grow out (which takes about six months). For example, your doctor may recommend eczema creams or measures to control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.

If the lines are white or discolored, this could be an example of Mee's lines. They can point to extremely serious conditions such as carbon monoxide poisoning, arsenic poisoning, kidney failure, or even malaria.

2. Discolorations: You May Have a Fungal Infection or an Illness

What your toenails say about your health can be conveyed by color

Some of what your toenails say about your health can be conveyed by their color. For example, you might be in the beginning stages of a fungal infection if you notice white spots on your toenails.

Over time, the toenails with these spots are likely to thicken and become cloudy and yellow-brown. The nails may become thick and hard for you to cut. They'll probably also become brittle and interfere with your walking. You may feel pain and swelling.

In short, don't ignore fungal infections. Fortunately, you can often get rid of them with aloe vera anti-fungal treatments. They should work on fingernails, too. Always pay attention from the moment you see white toenail speckles.

Here are other possible toenail health signs related to discoloration and what they may mean:

  • Gray toenails could point to arthritis, lung disease, or malnutrition. Always pay attention to coloration because it’s a big part of what your toenails say about your health.
  • Green toenails could mean an infection. They could also be an allergic reaction to some chemicals in cleaning products or makeup.
  • A bluish tinge or purple-colored nails could indicate Raynaud's disease. Blood doesn't circulate properly to your extremities, and the lower levels of oxygen turn your nails blue or purple.
  • Black nails could mean an injury.Black nails can mean an injury beneath your nails, perhaps from ill-fitting shoes. Badly fitting shoes can also cause purple or red discoloration. In addition, black nails can signify a vitamin B12 deficiency, anemia, or a bacterial infection. On occasion, black toenails could even mean liver disease, kidney disease, or cancer.
  • Dark streaks underneath the nail could point to hidden melanoma. This is a skin cancer that can be very dangerous.

3. Loose Toenails: You Could Have Any Number of Conditions

 Loose Toenails. You Could Have Any Number of Conditions

Loose toenails (separated from the nail bed) could mean thyroid disease or any of many other conditions, such as infection, trauma, psoriasis, and improperly fitting shoes.

It can also point to allergic reactions and be a side effect of some medications and cancer treatments. What your toenails say about your health is, unfortunately, not always immediately apparent, and your doctor may need to run several tests.

Avoid pulling off a loose nail. If part of your toenail still appears healthy and attached, see if you can trim the detached area, which lets the healthy portion regrow. Cover the toe, and consult with a doctor for any additional care needs.

4. Ingrown Toenails: Poor Nail Health Can Cause Pain

Poor Nail Health Can Cause PainIngrown toenails can mean bad toenail health. They occur when the edge of a toenail, typically the big toe's nail, rows into the skin next to it.

Symptoms can include redness or dark discoloration, swelling, warmth, discharge, and pain. Interestingly, you probably won't see the ingrowth because it is often below the skin. Getting older can increase the risk of ingrown toenails, as can fungal infections, poor leg circulation, lung disease, poorly fitting shoes or socks, a family history of ingrown nails, and an atypical toe shape.

What To Do About What Your Toenails Say About Your Health

What your toenails say about your health can be incredibly important. For example, paying attention to your toenails can help you catch fungal infections before they worsen. Browse our hand and foot care products at Miracle of Aloe today to help with fungal infections, cracked heels, and other conditions.