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Our Rockville MD Podiatrist Answers:
Why Do Toenails Turn Yellow?

rockville md podiatrist why do toenails turn yellow

Our 5-Star-Rated Rockville Podiatrist Discusses The Causes, Treatment & Prevention of Yellow Toenails

A variety of conditions or diseases may cause toenails to turn yellow; solving the condition may be as simple as using and removing dark nail polish on your toes, which may create a stain when you remove the polish. In most cases though, yellow toenails are an indication of a fungal infection, which is the most common cause. Other reasons for yellow nails include diabetes, yellow nail syndrome, or lymphedema (chronic leg swelling).

At the first sign of discoloration, you should seek medical attention from your Rockville podiatrist. If you aren’t already an established patient with a podiatry office in Rockville MD, then feel free to call us at The Podiatry Center. This way, you can begin immediate treatment and prevent further damage. Yellow toenails can affect anyone, but most people who experience this condition are between the ages of 20–70. Athletes of all ages may also be susceptible to toenail and foot problems, including discoloration.

Fungal infections are typically the result of personal habits, such as wearing shoes made of non-breathable materials (like plastic) that allow sweat to mix with bacteria. Other causes include walking barefoot in wet public places or not allowing your toenails and feet to air out. Fungi grow in warm, moist, dark places like close-toed shoes. A fungal infection may be accompanied by a thickening of the nail and a raised appearance, as well as the nail becoming brittle and weak or beginning to crumble and flake. Wearing the same shoes every day, especially if you sweat excessively and do not allow your shoes to air out between uses, can also promote fungal and bacterial infections.

Do You Need To Visit A Rockville Podiatry Office If Your Toenails Turn Yellow?

The best way to return your toenails to their natural color will depend on the cause of the discoloration. For example, if your nails are stained from polish, you may have to wait until the nail grows out to restore the natural color. If your discoloration is a result of diabetes, you may need to gain control over your condition before you see improvements in the rest of your body.

If you have a fungal infection, there are several treatment options available. Our top-rated podiatrist at The Podiatry Center can determine the proper treatment method for you based on the severity and extent of the infection. Mild infections may be treated with a medicated nail polish, which you apply for six to nine months until the infection is gone (typically, this takes about a year). More severe infections may require oral antifungal medications; extreme cases may result in surgery.

Additional Tips From Your Rockville MD PodiatristOn How To Prevent Yellow Toenails

  • Always wear clean socks and shoes made of breathable materials
  • Avoid walking barefoot in areas that are public and damp.
  • Avoid coming into contact with anyone with a fungal infection, and don’t share towels, bathmats, or clothes with someone healing or suffering from a fungal infection.
  • Clean and dry your feet and toes thoroughly and daily.
  • Talk with your Rockville podiatrist at the first sign of discoloration.
  • Maintain proper foot and toenail hygiene.
  • Never cut your nails too short, and always cut them straight across.

Yellow toenails usually do not go away on their own. At the first sign of a fungal infection – or if you have questions about yellow toenails and their cause – contact your Rockville podiatrist or call us at The Podiatry Center to find out more about treatment options, including over-the-counter products that may benefit you.

The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to foot and ankle care, feel free to contact The Podiatry Center, with a convenient podiatry office location near Rockville MD, by clicking here or by calling 301.656.6055.



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The Podiatry Centers located in Bethesda, Maryland (MD) and Springfield, Virginia (VA) treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrist,
Dr. Paul Ross can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.

Our Bethesda, Maryland (MD) and Springfield, Virginia (VA) Podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Woodbridge VA, Fairfax VA, Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Burke VA, Gaithersburg MD, Potomac MD, Silver Spring MD, Rockville MD and Chevy Chase MD.

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