White spots can appear on finger and toe nails. These spots are common and are normally caused by accidents, such as hitting your hand on the wall. They may also be signs of deficiencies or other medical concerns that may be present. These symptoms are ways that your body is telling you that there may be a problem. Understanding the causes and associated treatments can help you take proper care of your body.
Types of White Spots on Nails
1. Total Coverage
Leukonychia totalis, or total nail whitening, is a rare and serious condition. When a single or multiple nails are entirely white, then there may be a sign of serious kidney or liver disorder. This may also be a sign of a genetic disorder. If your nails begin to produce entirely white nails, then you will want to speak with a medical professional.
2. Partial Coverage
Leukonychia partialis, or partial nail whitening, is common. This can occur in two common forms. The most common form takes the shape of small, odd-shaped white blobs. This is normally due to an injury, such as hitting your hand against the wall, or nail biting. These will remain until they grow out. The other kind, called Mees’ lines, are parallel bands of whitened nails. This is often caused due to excessive manicures and nail tapping. However, they may be symptoms of other causes.
Causes and Treatments of White Spots on Nails
Accidents, such as hitting your fingernails on the wall or slamming them in the door, are the most common cause of white spots on nails. Biting nails may cause this as well. The best way to make sure that you do not have new white spots is to be careful at all times. For people who chew their nails, it would be best to carry around a fingernail clipper at all times. These will normally appear some time after the injury occurred, as they are due to damage in the nail matrix that produces new nails.
Prevention is the best medicine. As there are no ways to treat spots that are due to injuries, the best option is to remain aware of your actions at all times. Minimize stress on your nails and you will notice that these spots will not be produced.
2. Mineral Deficiencies
Zinc and calcium deficiencies are often rumored to be the cause of white spots appearing on nails. Scientific evidence does not seem to support this. However, it is important for your body to have the proper amount of nutrients. Developing a nutrient rich diet will help your body function properly.
3. Protein Deficiency
Protein deficiency, on the other hand, may cause white bands to appear beneath your nails. These are called Muehrcke’s lines. These are located on the nail bed and will not grow out overtime. You will need to treat these. To test these lines to see if they are due to protein deficiency rather than something else, firmly press down on the nail. If the lines disappear and reappear, then they are Merhrcke’s lines.
Adding protein to your diet will treat these lines. Protein heavy foods, such as nuts, seeds, avocados and broccoli will help cause these lines to diminish. With a proper diet, you will find that these lines will not be present.
It is possible that you may be allergic to a chemical that you place on your fingernails. Polish, polish remover, hardeners and creams may also be causing you to have an allergic reaction that may lead to white spots.
The best way to determine the cause of the allergy is to stop using one thing at a time. Stop using a certain kind of polish for a time and see if the spots diminish. If they remain, then try removing a different chemical from your routine. In time, you will find the culprit.
5. Fungal Infections
The fungal infection, Onychomycosis, may first appear as white spots. These are normally first present on the top of the nail, but may spread to the nail bed. When the infection reaches the nail bed, the infection may become much more serious and pronounced. This is most common on the toe nails, as many people do not care for their feet as much as they do their hands. If you believe that you may have a fungal infection, then you may want to speak with a medical professional.
A doctor will be able to diagnose your condition and give you proper medication and treatment. For people who do not have the financial means to speak with a medical professional, anti-fungal cream may help. Topical creams may not deal with a serious infection, so medical attention may be required.
6. Organ Disease
Liver and kidney disease may cause white spots to appear on the nails. These serious medical concerns will have more debilitating symptoms present as well. If you find that you are feeling incredibly unhealthy and notice white spots on your nails, then you will want to speak with a medical professional.
The only way to care for serious organ diseases are to speak with a medical professional. They will be able to run tests and give you medical advice. Avoid alcohol and other drugs if you believe that you may be experiencing these conditions. Removing alcohol and drugs from your lifestyle will help you prevent serious medical complications in the future.
Iron deficiency, unlike calcium and zinc deficiencies, may be a cause for white nail bends. A lack of energy and other anemia symptoms will be present as well. You will want to speak with a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.
If you believe that you may have anemia, then increase your intake of iron. Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, will help increase your iron intake. Artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower also contain decent amounts of iron. A medical professional may also have other forms of treatments that may be beneficial.
8. Various Nail Infections or Diseases
Any infections or diseases of the nails may cause these spots to appear. If you find that you have any problems, such a flaking, discoloration, pain, pressure or improperly formed nails, then speak with a medical professional. They will be able to give you a diagnosis and proper medical treatment.
Avoid unclean materials or substances as they may cause an infection. Make sure that you wash your hands every time that you use the restroom or work with your hands. Thoroughly wash your feet every time that you take a shower. Do not allow potential infections to go untreated, as minor cases may become major problems in short time spans.