Q:

What causes white spots on toenails?

A:

Quick Answer

New Health Guide explains that white spots on toenails can be caused by injury, allergic reaction, zinc deficiency, calcium deficiency, fungal infection or illness. In most cases, white spots, also called leukonychia, are not a cause for concern. However, if the spots appear frequently or in patterns, MDhealth.com warns that medical attention is necessary to track down the exact cause.

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Full Answer

In most cases, white spots appear on the nail after an injury to the nail matrix, which is the blood-rich spot found at the base of the nail, or nail bed, according to MDhealth.com. If the spots are accompanied by other symptoms, such as dryness and splitting, an underlying vitamin deficiency, illness or infection may be the cause. Certain illnesses, such as liver disease, kidney disease, anemia, herpes, malaria, bacterial infection and poisoning, can also cause white spots in rare cases.

No treatment is required for white spots that appear infrequently due to injury, according to MDhealth.com. Certain vitamin supplements or changes in diet may be necessary if a vitamin deficiency is suspected.

Once they appear, white spots do not fade. They move down the nail along with nail growth until they reach the free edge, where they can be clipped or filed away. Since it may take several weeks to a few months for white spots to grow out, New Health Guide recommends wearing nail polish to hide the spots.

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