Nail Discolouration

Nail Discolouration

Apr 21, 2022

Daily at Foot corner, we see all different coloured nails.

While our toenails are ideally meant to be pink - there can be many different colours that can appear on the nail.


Why are my nails YELLOW?

This can be due to the nail thickening and/or fungal infection. If you are concerned you have either of these please continue reading where I go into more detail about each separately.

For anyone wearing nail polish and/or fake tan these can stain the nails leaving a yellow - orange appearance on the nails. This should grow out as the nail grows.


My nail has gone BROWN!

Brown can also indicate that the nail has a fungal infection.


My nails have gone BLACK!

A blackened nail is usually due to trauma. It is a blood blister (known as a subungual hematoma) that has occurred under the nail. Often times the nail will fall off if it has gone fully black. If there is just a small speck of black it should grow out as the nail grows. As it takes a while for the toenail to grow out (approximately 12 months) it may be an idea to measure the distance with a ruler from the base of the nail to the blackened area to mark its progression as it grows out of the nail.

This is very common in runners (particularly people who run long distances) or hikers. This isn’t always avoidable due to the impact your feet go through travelling such a distance. However if your shoes/runners/boots are tied correctly it will prevent your foot moving in the shoe, stopping the repetitive trauma. 

If you have a blackened area under the nail and you have no recollection of how it got there you should contact your Podiatrist or GP to have this assessed. While rare, it is possible to have a melanoma under nail (known as a subungal melanoma) which can be benign or cancerous and should be assessed by having a biopsy to have this ruled out.


I have white blotches on my nail. What is it?

White blotches on the nail can be the start of fungal infection particularly after having nail polish covering the nail for a period of time.

These white blotches can also be caused by psoriasis or eczema. 


Why have I white lines across my nail?

If you have white lines (known as a Beau’s Line) on the nail this is a different matter. White lines across the nail indicate that the nail ceases growing for a period of time. This could be due to illness or trauma. Once you are back to full health the nail should regrow again and gradually the white line should grow out of the nail.


P.S. If your worried about the colour of your nails, send us a picture with you phone number to [email protected] and we will call you back to tell you what we think it could be.