Dr. Jacoby explains the three most common reasons a nail will turn yellow.
Yellowish nails – three probably broad categories that would indicate yellow-type nails. Number one, smokers have yellow nails, the nicotine in their fingernails. Toenail is probably more of a mycotic nail infection; fungus. The third one is diabetes. There’s a substance called pentosidine. Pentosidine is what we call in chemistry is an adduct.
When you have a sugar and a protein, when they bind they give off a fluorescent yellow color and it maybe your early sign of diabetes. If you suspect that you have a yellow toenail or a yellow fingernail for that matter then you have to determine what the cause is. Obviously in the fingernail, if you are a smoker stop smoking – that’s the number one cause.
Number two, if it’s a toenail and it’s yellow, probably the most common problem is diabetes. Diabetes has pentosidine in the nail plate, which is a fluorescent yellow color and it’s probably the first marker of diabetic problems and I think that should be investigated. Your podiatrist would know what that is, your dermatologist, and even your family doctor. You should have a blood sugar, at least in the beginning if you can stop it at that point the problem will go away.
Another issue that I think is fairly common is patients who use toenail polish, the lacquer in the toenail polish leaves a yellowish film and simple thing to do is just use the toenail polish remover and remove, apply it to the toenail and see if the yellow color goes away.
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.