White Spots on Fingernails: Causes and Treatments
If you enjoy wearing open-toed sandals in the summer, you could perhaps realize how comfy they are. But good looks are not the only reason why you should keep your toenails in shape.
White patches can appear on your toenails, and this specific condition is called leukonychia. This is a common phenomenon and is not harmful. Many people get these patches during their middle years, and they may not require immediate medical treatment.
The cases of white spots appearing across your nails can vary from person to person. For some, it stretches across the entire nail; for others, it can appear as white spots dotted across the nail. Sometimes the spot affects one of your nails, and sometimes it affects all your nails.
Injury to the nail bed is the most common cause of leukonychia. Pinching your nail and fingers are common reasons why these injuries appear. The use of gel and acrylic nails and frequent manicures and pedicures can also damage nail beds. Other factors may contribute to the appearance of white patches on the nails.
Some of the reasons why white spots on nails appear are listed below:
- Mineral Deficiency
- Nail Injury
- Fungal Infection
- Allergic Reaction
The most frequent reason for white patches developing on nails is a calcium or zinc deficit.
White patches or dots may occur if there is an injury near the base of the toes. However, nail development takes time, and by the time it has grown, you may have forgotten that you were ever injured. Injuries might also appear after four weeks. These are some of the common sources of injuries
- Hitting your toenails against a desk
- Shutting your toes against a door
Pedicurists can spoil your nails by applying pressure constantly. It can damage your nail beds.
Onychomycosis is a toenail fungus that presents as a white superficial nail infection. A few white patches on the toes may be the initial symptom of this illness. After this disease, toenails grow thick and brittle, and they seem flaky as the infection advances to the nail bed.
People might be allergic to nail polish, nail polish remover, gloss, or hardener. White spots can also appear if your nails are damaged by acrylic or nail gels.
The lesser-known causes of these white spots appearing on nails are:
- Bad health
- Heart Disease
- Renal Failure
- Arsenic Poisoning
If white spots continue to emerge, doctors will evaluate your medical history before making a diagnosis.
The different symptoms of a white spot appearing in your toenails are:
- Large individual dots
- Tiny pinpoint-sized dots
- More prominent lines across the nail
The cause of the white spot may have an impact on how they appear. Nail damage might cause a white dot area in the center of the nail. Spots might form all over the nail as a result of an allergic response. White lines or spots can develop on a single or several nails.
Diagnosis and Treatment
For white spots appearing due to fungus, physical examination is not enough. Laboratory testing should also be an essential part of it. Insurance companies cover antifungal treatment, and tests are carried out by clipping the toenail or drilling a hole into the toenail.
Fungal nail infection can be treated by laser, topical or oral medication. As for white spots on nails appearing from other causes, the way to get rid of them is to find out what caused them. If the white area were caused by trauma, then there is every chance that they will grow with time. The time the nail takes to grow will depend on its location. A toenail generally takes one year to grow, whereas a fingernail takes fourteen to sixteen weeks to develop.
If the infection lasts too long, it can cause discolored and thickened nails that can eventually become very painful. You can always visit a podiatrist in this case who can suggest one of the following remedies:
Debridement means the removal of nails so that a topical treatment can penetrate through the skin.
Nail paint and hand lotion are sometimes used to treat diseased nail regions. However, topical medications provide an extra hazard because they must be used for a year and are sometimes discontinued. They may also at times fail to perpetrate through the skin to the affected area.
Oral medicines are used to treat toenail fungus itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox) terbinafine (lamisil). Both these medicines need to be applied constantly for a period of three months to get a good cure. The liver can get affected by both these drugs. A blood test is recommended after few weeks for people undergoing these medications. Toenail fungus caused by yeast can be removed through Diflucan. Toenails can be surgically removed or dissolved with acid in the most severe cases of fungal infection. Before using tea-tree oil or Vicks Rub to your toes, remember that they have not been laboratory tested. It is hardly unusual that the podiatrist does not suggest them.
Laser technology is recommended for treating onychomycosis. Though laser technology is aggressively marketed and clinical trial of this technology has reported mixed results, laser technology is not approved by insurance companies. If you want to opt for this technology, it is better that you should always consult an expert Doctor.
You can always prevent a white spot from appearing on toenails by taking good care of them. Nails are mostly made of keratin, so a protein-rich diet can go a long way to repair the nail bed and nail plate. Trimming them regularly and avoiding using irritants and nail polish are the ways to keep your toenails healthy and shining.