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What Do Your Toenails Say About Your Health?

Most people don’t think to look at their toes but it may be a good idea to start paying attention! Read below to find out how your toenails can change and what these changes may be indicating.


Thickened Nails

Abnormally thickened nails, also called onychauxis, is caused by trauma or repetitive microtrauma to the cells at the base of the nail. This thickening is irreversible, however easily managed by regular visits to your local Chiropodist, who has special tools to reduce the nail’s thickness and remove pressure and pain to the area.

Yellow, Crumbly Nails

Typically, toenails that are discoloured, crumbly, and are accompanied with a significant amount of debris under the nail can be indicative of a fungal infection. This infection is actually in the nail bed (the skin underneath the nail) and is most commonly caused by trauma to the area. Treatment for this may include a prescription for an oral or topical antifungal.

Curved Nails

Curved nails, usually caused by tight footwear or due to genetics, can be difficult to cut on your own. They also have a tendency to become ingrown toenails if cut too short. An ingrown toenail is when the nail pierces the skin causing pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes even a localized infection.

Ridged Nails

Brittle nails with superficial ridges are often initiated by rheumatoid arthritis or peripheral vascular disorders.

Terry’s Half and Half

This nail presents as half white and half dark in colour. The white portion is related to anemia and this nail presentation generally implies either renal or liver disease. If there is a brown band just before the free edge of the nail, the condition is renal in nature.

Hippocratic Nails

Hippocratic nails, also known as clubbed nails, is when the nails start to grow curved, resembling the shape of an upside-down spoon. These nails are associated with chronic lung disease, heart disease, thyroid disease, liver issues, and digestive tract problems.

Spoon Shaped Nails

As the name suggest, this is when the nail resembles the shape of a spoon and becomes concave. Spoon shaped nails are associated with iron deficiency anemia.

Black Nails

Black toenails can be indicative of a number of things. In some cases, it can simply be due to trauma causing bleeding and consequently a bruise under the nail. In other cases, the dark pigmentation in the nail can be the result of a malignant melanoma. Malignant melanomas are suspected when a mole underneath the nail increases in size or elevation, becomes inflamed, bleeds following minor trauma, or if the pigmentation spreads into the surrounding skin around the nail.


If you notice any changes to your toenails, before diagnosing yourself, let a Registered Chiropodist examine your feet to determine what is really going on and what treatment options there are to help.

Here’s to Many More Years of Foot Care!

At Feet First Clinic, we’re always excited to welcome new clients! After a successful 12 years of treating our amazing patients, we’re ready to continue offering only the best foot care services and products. Give us a call to ask our friendly staff any questions you may have! Our Toronto foot specialists are ready to help!

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.