Why Are My Nails Yellowing?

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
December 20, 2017
Category: toenail conditions
Tags: Diabetes   Paronychia   psoriasis   jaundice  

It can be frustrating to take off your shoes and see that your nails have begun to yellow. Yellow nails are usually a sign of an illness or infection and should be treated quickly. Although not all causes of yellow nails are serious, it is important not to take an unneeded risk. Here are some causes of yellow nails that aren’t as common but are still very serious.

Psoriasis - Is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes patches of red, flaky skin covered with silver colored scales. It is sometimes causes nail discoloration, typically yellow, brown or green. It can show up on the feet or any other place the body has skin. It can also make it look like there is a drop of oil underneath the nail. Psoriasis can be painful and should be treated by a podiatrist right away.

Paronychia - This is a bacterial infection of the nail or surrounding skin. Its symptoms include redness, inflammation and pus around the edge of the nail. Thickening and discoloration of the nails can also occur. This discoloration often appears yellow. It can be found in the toenails as well as on fingernails. It is important to see your doctor right away for proper treatment.

Diabetes - Type 2 diabetes is often accompanied by poor circulation and nerve damage in the feet which can lead to yellowing or blackening of the toenails. Good foot care is vital for anyone suffering from this condition, so if you have developed yellow toenails and are diabetic, consult your doctor promptly. Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk for foot related problems and should have them checked regularly. Being proactive is key when you suffer from diabetes.

Nail Polish - If you use nail polish regularly, then you are at risk for nail discoloration. Red and orange nail polishes are especially likely to turn your toenails yellow. This is because in many nail polishes, there is iron oxide. This iron oxide causes a chemical reaction with the nail and turns them yellow.  It can be remedied by stopping the use of nail polish and by seeking the help of a podiatrist.

Jaundice - Is a condition in which the liver starts to slow or shut down and is unable to process the bilirubin that the body naturally produces. It turns the skin of the feet and the rest of the body yellow. Sometimes it can even turn toenails yellow.

Do you have any of the conditions listed above? Suffer from a different foot problem not listed? Call Dr. Andrew H. Cohen of Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center, located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. After a consultation, Dr. Cohen will diagnose which condition is causing your yellow nails and feet. Call 989-790-8009 or make an appointment online today. Your foot health is our top priority.