White spots on toenails, also known as leukonychia, are a common condition characterized by the presence of small white spots or discoloration on the surface of the nails. Leukonychia can occur on one or multiple toenails and may appear as single dots or multiple lines.
There are two main types of leukonychia:
- True leukonychia: This occurs due to abnormalities in the nail matrix, which is the area beneath the cuticle where nail cells are formed. The white spots represent areas of increased keratin production. True leukonychia is usually harmless and often caused by minor trauma or mild infections.
- Apparent leukonychia: This type of discoloration is caused by external factors that affect the nail plate. It can be caused by frequent exposure to nail polish, harsh chemicals, or trauma.
In most cases, white spots on toenails are purely cosmetic and not a cause for concern. However, if the spots are persistent, changing in appearance, or accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, swelling, or nail deformities, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional. They can help determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment or advice.« Back to Glossary Index