Why Do My Toenails Change Color?

If your toenails change color, it could indicate health issues. This article teaches you all about the different toenail colors.

What Do Different Toenail Colors Mean?

To understand if your health is at risk, here is what your toenail color means:

Black toenails

If your toenails turn black, it means you have a bruise under the nail. This is called a subungual hematoma; you can get it by stubbing a toe. The bruise starts as red, becomes purple, and turns dark brown. Eventually, the bruise turns black when the blood under the nail pools and clots.

Yellow toenails

When toenails become yellow, it means there is a fungus. This is a common fungal infection, so you might not need to see a doctor. For medication, you can try anti-fungal cream.

If your nail is thick and yellow, gently file away the surface so the drug can reach deeper levels.

Green toenails

If you have green toenails, it could be chloronychia. This is caused by bacteria that thrive in wet conditions. The infection is underneath the nail, so don’t try scrubbing it off. Instead, visit your doctor for medical treatment.

Blue toenails

If you don’t stub your toe, but it turns blue, you may have a toe mole. In most cases, the mole is harmless. However, it can be a type of blue mole known as cellular blue nevus, which can become cancer.

White streaks and spots

Stubbing your toe doesn’t always lead to bruises. This is because the blood vessels under your nails might not break and leak blood. Instead, you might develop a white spot on your toenail.

Alternatively, even when you unknowingly hurt yourself, toe trauma might cause a streak. For instance, it can happen when your sneakers are too tight, and your toe hits the front of your shoe.

Whitish or yellowish patch

Another type of fungal infection is known as proximal subungual onychomycosis. It appears as a whitish or yellowish patch that starts at the bottom of your toenail, near the cuticle. In most cases, the infection happens in patients with weak immune systems. It could also be a sign of HIV.

Brown streaks

The term for the brown color on your toenail is melanonychia. It appears as a streak or line running up and down your nail. Possible causes include:

● Melanoma
● Injury
● Fungal infections
● Inflammatory conditions.

There is little chance that your brown streak might indicate a serious illness. However, it is advisable to get it checked out.


Your toenail color might indicate a serious infection or a bruise that will fade away. If you see any unfamiliar colors, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis.