It’s summer, and the rising temperatures have many of us reaching for our flip flops or sandals. The desire for manicures and pedicures surge during this time of year to keep nails looking in tip-top shape, and a time many actually pay attention to how their toenails look. We sat down with our resident Podiatrist, Dr. Nick Romansky, to discuss something rare and unattractive, but more important than you may realize – nail health. It is easy to neglect your nails, and why Dr. Romansky of Healthmark Foot and Ankle shares his signs your nails could be a sign too much bigger health concerns. Your nails are a direct correlation of what is potentially happening with your health- maybe not on the surface, but deep down.
- Yellowing Nails – This is one of the most common occurrences in nail health. Infections can be picked up from pedicure tubs in nail salons if not cleaned in between clients properly, or even from having your toes confined in shoes and socks for too long. Athlete’s foot or ringworm can also be a culprit to disturbing nail health. Diabetes, poor circulation, weakened immune systems and even swimming in public swimming pools are all additional risks of getting a fungal infection in toenails. How do you know if you have an infection? Are your nails yellow, do they white streaks, is there scaling under the nail, or do you have brittle or thickened nails? This may be a sign you have an infected nail and should see a doctor. Over-the-counter medications are typically not recommended. In rare cases, yellow nails can indicate a more serious condition such as diabetes or psoriasis, and white nails can indicate problems with the liver.
- Cracked or Split Nails – While this can be tied to an infection, it can also be linked to thyroid disease, psoriasis, and hyperthyroidism
- Dark Lines – Dark lines beneath the nail can be a sign of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Dark lines can also be a bruise. Many athletes can get bruised under the nail, so you may not need to be alarmed at the first sign, however within a few weeks if there is no change in appearance, you may want to see a dermatologist or podiatrist to take a deeper look.
- Pale Nails – If your nails are almost white or extremely pail, it can suggest medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver disease, or malnutrition. Hepatitis signs are linked to very white nails.
- Half White / Half Pink Nails – Often referred to as half and half, with half of the toenail being white and the other pink, this can be a sign of kidney disease or even kidney failure.