Discoloured nails can be caused by a number of factors and can be managed with the right treatment plan. Some causes of discolouration can be:

  • Direct trauma to the nail when hiking or running
  • Psoriasis of the nails
  • A fungal infection known as Onychomycosis

The most common cause of nail discolouration and effects approximately 35 million people is Dermatophyte nail infection – fungal infection. This can be contracted in damp areas such as public showers and swimming pools and can be usually treated using topical solutions.

Our clients most commonly develop nail discolouration after a treatment at a nail salon or upon removal of their at home application of nail polish. Organisms live on thesurface of our skin and nails, when nail polish is applied to toe nails, organisms can be ‘locked’ under the surface of the polish and cause harm to the nail. Due to the polish prohibiting oxygen or light from penetrating the nail polish, the organism is free to work away at the nail resulting in damage and discolouration to the toenail.

Measures to treat discolouration:

  1. Rub an acetone free agent on to the nail to clean the surface. Allow to completely dry – you can use a hairdryer to ensure the nail is thoroughly dry.
  2. Apply a nail polish that is free of nasty chemicals that can damage your nail (such as: dibutyle phthalate, toluene, camphor and formaldehyde). We recommend the medically formulated DaniPro nail polish as it is free from nasty chemicals and can enhance your nail health (stocked in our Ocean Grove clinic).
  3. We advise our clients to remove the nail polish after 7-14 days with an acetone free agent and let the nails breath again for at least 2 days. Where possible, expose your nails to some natural light but don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet to avoid sunburn!
  4. Allow your work and exercises shoes to dry out thoroughly before wearing them again and where possible remove the insole of your shoe too. Again some natural light to the inside of your shoes is ideal.

Top tip: if you choose to visit a nail salon, we encourage you to take your own instruments, including nail polish and request the technician use these instead. This is a necessary precaution to ensure fungus does not contaminate your nails again.

If you are experiencing discolouration or infection to your toenails, our Podiatrists can perform an in treatment test and set you on the right treatment path.