What Causes White Spots on Toenails?
The main cause to see white spots on toenails is nail fungi. This is commonly found in the air, soil, and dust. You can also get nail fungus if you continually keep your toenails painted because when you do your toenails suffer from a lack of oxygen allowing nail fungi to grow. Normally these white spots are the first warning signs that you have a fungi growing under your toenail. If it is any type of fungus causing white spots on toenails make sure that you wash your hands very good before touching your other toes to help keep it from spreading to your other toenails.
Other causes can include:
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies — in women, a deficiency in calcium can cause these white spots. Not eating a diet that is rich in zinc can also cause them.
- Infection — having an underlying infection may be another cause. Since your feet are covered by shoes most of the time, you may not realize that you have an infection that is eating up your toenails. When a fungus gets under your toenail and starts to grow it can cause these white spots on toenails. There are three types of fungal infections, which include molds, dermatophytes, and yeast. With these types of fungal infections, the white spots often appear somewhere else on the nail beside the cuticle. The white spot appears more often at the tip of the toenail. People who have feet that perspire a lot are more prone to developing fungus infections. When the white spot grows it can also cause your toenail to become thinner or thicker and the nail may start flaking off, come apart, or split.
- Injury — many people because of their busy lifestyle chose to ignore an injury to their toenails or maybe not even realize they have injured it. You can also cause an injury to your toenails while cutting them. These white spots can appear if you accidentally kick something with your foot and hit your toes or you drop something heavy on your toes. If you notice white spots on toenails, you should check the toe for any injuries. The white spots on toenails after an injury are a form of a bruise. When you injure your toenail, it could also be susceptible to bacteria forming under the toenail causing a fungal infection. The white spots may not show up immediately but could take a few days, maybe even a few weeks before you see the white spots.
- Allergy — if you are allergic to any products you use on your feet or toenails this can also cause white spots on toenails. The allergic reaction could be triggered by nail polish remover, nail polish, or nail hardener.
Treatment for White Spots on Toenails
With white spots on toenails there are over-the-counter treatments, natural home remedies, and natural healing products you can use to treat this medical condition. Before doing any treatment, you should talk to your physician to find out what the cause is so the correct treatment can be used. If it is an infection, your physician will be able to tell you the extent of the damage and may give you a prescription medication to take care of the infection. For a fungal infection you try an over-the-counter anti-fungal ointment.
Most of the time these white spots will go away on their own but you should still watch them to make sure that no other symptoms appear and if it is from an infection that it is not getting worse.
- Vinegar — soak your feet in white or apple vinegar dilute with water for twenty to thirty minutes each day. The acetic acid that is found in vinegar is effective against several fungal organisms
- Tea tree oil — this also has anti-fungal components and is effective against toenail fungus. Make sure that you are using one hundred percent tea tree oil and apply it every day to the surfaces of your toenails after you have soaked them for at least ten minutes.
- Ointments — you can use camphor or menthol ointments to help kill any fungal infections because these are able to penetrate the surface of your toenails. Apply them daily and let dry before you put on any socks or cover them up.
Ways to Help Prevent White Spots on Toenails
When you are at home make sure that you are keeping your feet cool and dry. Wear sandals or some type of open toe shoes. If you feel comfortable walk around your home bare foot
- During the hot summer months do not wear fluffy slippers around the house because they can cause your feet to sweat more and become a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.
- Keep your toenails trimmed but be careful you do not injury your toes
- Clean your nail clippers before each use
- If the fungus infection is from a yeast infection cut back on your carbohydrates and sugar usage as these turn into sugars in your body and helps to increase the growth of the fungus.
- If you get a pedicure make sure that they do not clip your toenails too short or accidentally cut the skin around your toenails.
- Make sure that you are eating a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean meats. You should also make sure that you are eating foods that will give your body the calcium, zinc, and protein it needs.
- Make sure that when you shower or take a bath that you are washing your feet, including your toenails, and that you make sure they are dry before putting on socks.
- If you work in a place where there is a chance that you could drop something heavy on your toes make sure that you are wearing steel toe shoes.
- Make sure that you are wearing the right footwear, and that your shoes are not too loose or too tight.
- Moisturize your toenails after bathing with a chemical-free moisturizer.
- If you are using a public shower make sure that you are wearing shower shoes, even around the pool area.
Pictures of White Spots on Toenails
Picture of White spots on toenails after removing polish