Dr. Jacoby introduces himself and explains when nail discoloration is a sign of a more severe medical problem.
Hi, I am Dr. Richard Jacoby. I am the Director of the Scottsdale Neuropathy Institute. We specialize in diabetic neuropathy and related issues with nerves.
If the nail is clear and translucent it generally means there’s good health. When it becomes yellow or brown or some type of tinge to the nail it usually means there’s something systemic that’s going on in the body, most common of which is diabetes. Diabetes shows as a yellow discoloration of the nail. It gets brittle and thick, but it also can be a sign of a local infection such as onychomycosis, which is a fungus of the toenail.
But we also see yellow discoloration in toenails in patients who use nail polish quite often. In the lacquer there’s a substance that makes the nail somewhat yellow tint. It also, as I said, can be from diabetes. So that’s a difficult sometimes in differential diagnosis.
Changes in your nail can be a sign or a symptom of changes in your health. The coloration is probably the first thing that makes a difference visually and then the texture and then there’s a whole series of different pathologies that occur that change the shape of the nail, number one of which is fungus, and that’s a thickening of the nail, but a lot of thick nails are due to trauma, irritation on the nail, either a micro trauma, irritation from issues, or a macro trauma where there’s actual physical abrasion of the nail.
A lot of sports people have changes in nail where they get discoloration under the nail from bruising. The bruising over time becomes yellow and it can cause a secondary infection.
About Dr. Richard Jacoby, D.P.M.:
Dr. Richard Jacoby, D.P.M., graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine. He completed his residency at Parkview Hospital, Philadelphia, specializing in foot and ankle surgery. Board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Foot and Ankle Surgeons, he is currently president of Valley Foot Surgeons in Scottsdale, Arizona. In addition, Dr. Jacoby is chairman of the board of Healthcare Networks of America.
Dr. Jacoby has been named the 2010 President of The Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons.