White toenails can develop for several reasons. White toenails caused by zinc deficiency are often thin and brittle, breaking easily. Trauma, such as when an object is dropped on a toenail, often causes bleeding under the nail because of broken blood vessels. This would cause a black toenail. If the trauma does not cause broken blood vessels, a white spot may appear under the nail. The spot will slowly grow out with the normal growth of the toenail.
Sometimes white lines appear within the toenail. These may be caused by recurring trauma, such as when a runner wears shoes that are too small and the toe hits the end of the shoe. White lines may also occur due to a medical illness or trauma that has occurred elsewhere in the body, causing the protein to be deposited within the nail bed.
A fungal infection that affects the outermost layer of the toenail may cause a bright white discoloration of the toenail. A white area close to the nail fold (the lunula) varies in size from one person to another. This is a normal aspect of the nail. It is recommended that you see a foot and ankle surgeon for the diagnosis and possible treatment of white toenails.
How to prevent white toenails-
Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat. Talk with your doctor if self-care strategies and over-the-counter (nonprescription) products haven’t helped. Treatment depends on the severity of your condition and the type of fungus causing it. It can take months to see results. And even if your nail condition improves, repeat infections are common.
There are circumstances that may leave you particularly susceptible to a fungus infection. Age is certainly a factor, and older people with poor circulation to the feet or who have diabetes are at heightened risk. In general, everyone should be vigilant about foot protection in environments that nurture fungi, such as locker rooms, swimming pool areas, and public showers. Get in the habit of wearing shower shoes or flip-flops – and wash and disinfect them thoroughly when you get home. The absence of infection will be your proof that good foot hygiene habits work.
If you suspect you have a toenail fungus infection, your first course of action should be to see your doctor, who will diagnose the type and severity of the infection and the best course of treatment, up to and including blood tests. Your doctor may also refer you to a dermatologist or podiatrist. There are many oral and topical treatment options available and your health care professional will prescribe the most effective to address your fungal infection. One possibility of many is laser treatment, which has proven safe and effective against most cases of toenail fungus. Clear nail growth has been shown to emerge after the first laser treatment session.
Try over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and ointments. Several products are available. If you notice white markings on the surfaces of the nails, file them off, soak your nails in water, dry them, and apply the medicated cream or lotion.
Trim and thin the nails. This helps reduce pain by reducing pressure on the nails. Also, if you do this before applying an antifungal, the drug can reach deeper layers of the nail.
Before trimming or using a nail file to thin thick nails, soften them with urea-containing creams. If you have a condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet and you can’t trim your nails, see a health care provider regularly to have your nails trimmed.
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