White Spots on Toenails: What Are They?

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You may find yourself asking, “Why do I have white spots on my nails?”. They can show up without warning and seemingly without reason – strange, white patches of all shapes and sizes.

Are they indicative of an allergic reaction? Did you bend a nail while you were at work? You might not remember bumping into something, but your body certainly does.

There are a variety of events and bodily functions that can result in white spots forming on your nails. The good news is that these white spots rarely indicate something severely wrong with your body.

what causes white spots on toenails

White spots on nails are common and treating them is simple. Should you not want to wait for your nails to grow out so that you can clip the offending spot away, you can cover the spot up or change a few elements of your diet.

Take comfort in the information shared below as we explore the whats, the whys, and the best ways to rid yourself of these curious nail imperfections.

What are the White Spots on Toenails?

The white spots that appear on your nails are officially referred to as “leukonychia.” Leukonychia, as we’ve mentioned, is hardly rare; it results, most typically, from varying damage done to your nail bed and reveals itself through white lines or spots on the cartilage of your nails.

Persistent white spots – that is, white spots that do not move as your nail grows, that cluster together in large groups, or that change color – may be indicative of a more complex issue, but a standard white spot on your fingernail or toenail is regular ol’ leukonychia and should not cause alarm.

What Causes White Spots on Toenails?

Leukonychia can result from a number of things, ranging from slight trauma to an imbalance of vitamins in your body.

Some of the most common causes include:


As previously mentioned, leukonychia’s white spots most frequently appear when you have damaged your nail bed.

This kind of damage can occur when you smack against a piece of furniture in the dark or when you bend a nail at work – any physical trauma at all.

To complicate matters, the white spots associated with leukonychia can appear a significant amount of time after the accident has occurred.

These white spots are not an indication of nail breakage, however, and so long as you’re not experiencing any other symptoms of a more serious issue, they are benign.


what causes white spots on toenails

If you’ve recently painted your nails with an unfamiliar brand of polish, the white spots appearing upon the polish’s removal may be the result of an allergic reaction.

Likewise, you may find that the cartilage of your nails responds poorly to your choice of nail polish remover.


Leukonychia’s white spots can also form if you are lacking zinc or calcium in your diet.

If you’ve recently altered your diet and find you’re developing white spots on your toenails or fingernails, you may be experiencing a noted deficiency of some of your daily vitamins.


White spots on toenails as the result of fungi sounds the most severe of leukonychia’s causes, but do not fret!

This kind of fungi – superficial onychomucosis – often causes small clusters of white dots to form on the nail while more frequently impacting the thickness of the nail itself.

If you note a change in the texture of your nails – should they become flakier, thinner, or thicker – then you may have to worry about a fungal cause behind your leukonychia.

How To Get Rid of White Spots on Toenails

Showing you how to get rid of white spots on nails is straightforward, though the process requires patience, in most cases. Based on the aforementioned causes of leukonychia, there are a variety of methods you can undertake.

white spots on toenails

If your white spots have appeared after you’ve damaged your nail bed over the course of a busy day, the best way to get rid of them is to wait.

Your nail will grow the white spot off of the body of its cartilage, and after a week or so, you should be able to cut the offending spot off of the edge of your nail. Alternatively, feel free to paint your nails in order to hide the blemish from view.

If the white spots have appeared after you’ve removed polish, however, it may be best to wait before applying a new color. Allergic reactions require that you change your brand of nail polish or nail polish remover in order to prevent reoccurring leukonychia.

If your diet has caused the appearance of white spots on your nails, consider taking vitamin supplements to regulate your body’s zinc or calcium intake. If you are uninterested in vitamins, consider increasing the amount of red meat or dairy products in your diet.

Finally, if your white spots appear to be more fungal-based, visit your local medical practitioner and make use of an anti-fungal medication, in the form of a pill or cream, for three months or for at least a week after the spots have disappeared.

The video below has further details on white spots on toenails.


White spots on your nails are not an immediate cause for worry.

If you believe the white spots to have developed due to something more malicious than a brief encounter with a desk at work, keep your diet in mind and reach out to a doctor for assistance.