Nails are comprised of hardened, living skin cells and may be affected by illness and physical ailments. One sign of a possible problem is a change in the color of the toenail. Discoloration of the toenails may be due to a variety of reasons. Once the underlying cause is determined, treatment can be administered to restore normal color to the nail.
Injury to the nail may cause discoloration. Mild trauma to the nail can cause white spots to form
on the nail. These white spots usually grow out with the nail and are not serious. If many white spots appear with no clear cause, a medical examination may be needed, as this may signal infection. Splinter hemorrhage also causes nail discoloration, leaving a reddish brown line under the nail where the blood vessels have been damaged. Long distance runners often experience toenail discoloration. Repeated impact of the shoe against the toes may cause bleeding under the nails. This typically causes the nails to turn black, and they may eventually fall off. Some medical conditions may also cause these hemorrhages, so a dermatologist should examine any nails with this condition.