What Causes Yellow Toenails?


Do you dread having a pedicure because you know that underneath that sultry shade of red that you're sporting on your tootsies lies ugly, thick, yellow toenails? Many people have yellow toenails and sometimes yellow fingernails, as well.


The most frequent reason for yellow toenails is a fungal infection, according to Footphysicians.com. When the fungus develops, it causes the nail to raise up, become thick and the nail becomes discolored.


If you always wear polish on your nails, this can cause your nails to become stained. It will take a long time for the stained nail to grow over but when it does the yellow color will be gone. If you suffer from chronic leg swelling, which is called lymphedema, or diabetes these can also turn your nails yellow.


According to Footsmart.com, a nail fungus produces other symptoms including pit marks on your nail and splitting of the nail. Your nails may become thick and flaky. If debris accumulates under your nail this will cause a foul odor.

How Fungi Operates

The Mayoclinic.com reports that fungi, which are microscopic organisms that thrive in the dark, can be beneficial in some respects but, on the other hand, can also cause infection and illness in humans. Nail infections are often caused by dermatophytes, which is a group of fungi; however, molds and yeast can also cause a nail fungal infection.

Expert Insight

Toenails are especially susceptible to fungal infections because the toes and feet are trapped inside dark shoes most of the time. Feet often sweat and this produces the moist environment in which fungus thrives. In addition, fungal infections can be caused by poor circulation to the toes. Because of the bad circulation, it makes it difficult for your body's immune system to notice the infection and then eliminate it, according to Mayoclinic.com.

You Are at Risk if ...

If you are a regular swimmer or if you take a lot of showers be mindful that fungi lives in these moist environments and can enter your skin through a split in your skin or a cut or even through the area that separates your nail from the nail bed.

Avoid This ...

Quickcare.org explains that wearing shoes that are too tight can result in a fungal infection. In addition, if you cut your nails too short and in the process unintentionally cut yourself in the nail area, an infection can enter through the injury site. Nail polish can also lead to a fungal infection, according to Quickcare.org, because nails aren't able to breathe when they are painted. Moisture gets trapped under the nail and this allows the fungus to flourish.

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