Why Are My Toenails Yellow?
Medically Reviewed by Elaine K. Luo, MD on June 26, 2017 — Written by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN Causes Treatments Home remedies Prevention Takeaway Overview If your toenails are turning yellow, it could be a result of aging, nail polish, or due to an infection. What causes yellow toenails?
Healthy nails are usually clear in color and don’t have any major issues like cracks, indentations, ridges, or abnormal shapes. If your toenails are turning yellow, it could be a result of something less serious, like aging or nail polish. Or it could be due to a more serious issue, like an infection. Aging
Aging can be a natural cause of yellow toenails and fingernails. As people grow older, the color, thickness, and shape of their nails tends to change. Aging individuals will often have a more yellow color to their nails. Nail polish
If you paint your nails frequently with nail polish that’s red or orange in color, your nails can also be discolored as a result of the polish. Taking a break from painting your nails should make the yellow go away. Medical condition
Having yellow toenails isn’t dangerous by itself. However, if the cause for the yellow toenails is an underlying medical condition, it may be a sign that something is wrong. For example, yellow toenails can be caused by an infection, fungus, or medical disorder. In rare cases, yellow toenails can actually be a sign of a disorder called yellow nail syndrome (YNS). Doctors don’t know what exactly causes YNS, but people who have it have yellow, curved, thickened nails that grow slowly, along with other symptoms like respiratory problems. Their nails also may have ridges or indentations in them and can also turn black or green. Go see your doctor if your nails also have any of the following: change in shape or thickness any bleeding discharge pain swelling Infection One of the most common causes of yellow toenails in an infection by a fungus that attacks the nails. This is called onychomycosis, and it happens more in adults than children. It can lead the nail to turn yellow, have yellow spots, white patches, or even turn black. The fungal infection is caused most often by dermatophytes, which eat keratin to grow. Keratin is found in skin and nails. According to American Family Physician, onychomycosis occurs in about 10 percent of the adult population, and the risk of getting it increases with age. About half of people over the age of 70 get the fungal infection. Some people are more prone to getting yellow toenails or catching a fungal infection. If you have a medical condition that causes poor blood circulation in the legs, like diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other autoimmune disorders, you’re more prone to foot disorders in general. Athletes or people who spend a lot of time in hot or moist conditions are also more prone to getting a foot infection.
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