How to Manage Common Toenail Problems

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One of the common toenail problems is often shown by having white spots or discoloration on your toenails and fingernails. It is a common issue amongst individuals of all age groups. These white spots mostly develop around the cuticle of your fingernails or toenails. When we bump our toes on a hard surface, the impact can cause minor damage to the root of the nail. These damages can lead to whitish areas which will disappear when the nail grows out.

However, in some cases, white discoloration or spots under toenails can be the result of a more serious issue. If the discoloration in your nail does not disappear, increases in size or is associated with changes in the texture of nails (like thickening, yellowing, splitting or separation from nail-bed), you should consult a healthcare professional for an evaluation.

Apart from an obvious nail injury, there are several causes for white spots to appear on your toenails. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Toenails White Spots Causes

Improperly Fitted Footwear

Improper footwear such as the wrong size, (too big or too small) can cause extra stress or strain on the feet. This strain on your feet and toenails can cause damage leading to the development of white spots.

Fungal Nail Infection

Some people are more prone to fungal infections than others. For example, individuals who wear shoes for long periods of time, especially in hot humid environments, are prone to develop fungal infections. The most common areas to pick up toenail fungus are in damp areas. If you go to public gyms, shower stalls or swimming pools, you are prone to pick toenail fungus. The sad part is that these bacterias can be passed among family members.

Athletes and people who wear tight-fitting shoes or tight hosiery that cause trauma to the toes or keep the feet from drying out are at higher risk. The condition can also spread from one toe to another, or to other parts of the body. Other risk factors include abnormal PH level of the skin, not drying off the feet thoroughly after bathing or exercise, and a compromised immune system in someone who has been exposed to a fungus. Diabetics have an increased risk of contracting a toenail fungus because their immune system is compromised. They should have their nails cut and debrided by a podiatrist.

Nutrient Deficiency

Deficiency of certain nutrients can also be associated with changes in the texture of nails, skin, and hair. White spots on toenails are typically an indication of deficiency of calcium, an essential mineral that is associated with strong bones. In addition, zinc deficiency is also associated with changes in nail and skin.

Allergy

An allergy to cosmetic products like nail enamels, thinners, nail polish removers, and nail hardeners can also cause white spots on toenails because of irritation due to allergens. An allergy reaction will often be limited to your toenails but a spread to your skin areas surrounding nail surfaces is possible.

How Can I Treat These Common Toenail Problems?

There are many wonderful natural remedies you can try before seeking medication for treating white spots on your nails. The results may not happen as quickly when using natural remedies, but they can be effective over time, and much less toxic to the body.

Tea Tree Oil

The most active ingredients of tea tree oil that is responsible for its anti-fungal properties are 1.8-cineole and terpinen-4-ol. In addition to hindering fungal growth, tea tree oil is also helpful in managing the growth of other microbial agents without causing any damage to nails or surrounding skin. You can use 100% tea tree oil applied topically 3 to 4 times a daily after scraping the fungal lesions.

Vinegar Soaks

The acetic acid in vinegar is responsible for its anti-fungal properties. You can prepare a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water. Once completed simply soak your feet for 30 minutes once daily. It will help decrease fungal or microbial growth.

Dietary Approach

An anti-fungal diet can also help reduce fungal growth in the body overall. Eliminating foods containing sugar or sweeteners, white/processed foods, dairy and anything containing yeast/gluten can be effective. There are many versions of the “Candida Diet”, each with different variations. They can be very effective in eliminating fungus from the body.

How Do I Prevent Fungus From Spreading?

The fungus on your toenails can be difficult to treat or even eradicate. You can easily fix this problem by taking preventive measures. It helps to wear protective shoes or sandals in public showers, pool areas and gyms, and to avoid borrowing someone else’s shoes or sharing socks or towels with someone who has toenail fungus. An orthotic device is used to add cushioning and/or control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the lower leg muscles.

Wash your feet regularly, and dry them thoroughly when they get wet. Wearing nail polish on the toes is not advised because it can seal in fungus and allow it to grow. Keep toenails trimmed, and be sure to disinfect any pedicure tools before using them. If you do develop toenail fungus, see your foot doctor.

Summary

We hope these common toenail problems gave you more knowledge in recognizing the early onset of bigger problems.  Prevention is always the best practice when you see white spots or fungus on your toenails. When you come out of the shower, check your toenail and look for any abnormalities. In addition, if you feel a rub of your toenail in your shoe, don’t wait and address the situation immediately.

Thanks for the contribution from Trina Kincey ~ Integrative Health Coach ~ Owner of Get Real Wellness, LLC

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