Why do I have a brown line on my toenail?

Melanonychia is caused when the pigment cells, called melanocytes, deposit melanin — brown-colored pigment — into the nail. These deposits are usually grouped together. As your nail grows, it causes the stripe of brown or black to appear on your nail.

What does it mean when there is a brown line on your nail?

Brown-black nail lines may represent blood from trauma; bacterial, fungal, or viral infection; drug reaction; endocrine disorders; exogenous pigmentation; excess melanin production within the nail matrix; nevi; or melanoma.

What causes brown marks on toenails?

Nail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is one of the most prevalent causes of toenail discoloration. The most common organism to cause toenail fungus is called dermatophyte. However, mold or yeast can also infect toenails. Dermatophytes grow by eating your body's keratin.


Is melanonychia serious?

Melanonychia is a very worrisome entity for most patients. It is characterized by brownish black discoloration of nail plate and is a common cause of nail plate pigmentation. The aetiology of melanonychia ranges from more common benign causes to less common invasive and in situ melanomas.

What causes line in toenail?

More than one line on one of your nails is usually a sign of repeated external injury to the nail matrix or an infection. However, if you have more than one nail with Beau's lines, the cause is likely a systemic illness, prolonged exposure to certain environmental factors, or chronic disease.


Subungual Melanoma: What You Need to Know



What does Beau's lines look like?

Beau's lines are horizontal ridges or dents in one or more of your fingernails or toenails. They're a sign that an illness, injury or skin condition interrupted your nail growth. Treating the underlying cause will allow new, smooth nails to grow again.

What do nails look like with anemia?

Spoon nails (koilonychia) are soft nails that look scooped out. The depression usually is large enough to hold a drop of liquid. Often, spoon nails are a sign of iron deficiency anemia or a liver condition known as hemochromatosis, in which your body absorbs too much iron from the food you eat.

What does melanonychia look like?

Melanonychia is a brown or black color in your nail. It can affect your fingernails or toenails. It can be in one nail, a few nails, or all of your nails. Melanonychia can have many different causes that range from harmless to potentially fatal.

Is there a cure for melanonychia?

The treatment options for melanonychia will depend on the primary cause. If the cause is benign, the individual may not need treatment. Some cases of melanonychia may fade after addressing the cause. For example, if drugs are the cause, melanonychia should fade within 6–8 weeks of stopping the treatment.


Can melanonychia be cancerous?

Cancer. Sometimes the neoplasms, or growths, that cause longitudinal melanonychia are cancerous or potentially cancerous. This can include: Subungual melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer occurring under the nail plate1.

What does melanoma look like under the toenail?

Subungual melanoma often starts as a brown or black streak under a toenail or fingernail. A person may mistake it for a bruise. The main symptoms of subungual melanoma include: brown or black streaks in the nail without any known injury.

What does a fungus toenail look like?

Nail fungus can cause the nail to become thick or ragged and appear yellow, green, brown or black. An infected nail may separate from the nail bed. Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail.

How can you tell the difference between toenail fungus and melanoma?

Diagnosing subungual melanoma vs. nail fungus
  1. brown or black bands of color that increase in size over time.
  2. change in skin pigment (darkening around the affected nail)
  3. splitting nail or bleeding nail.
  4. drainage (pus) and pain.
  5. delayed healing of nail lesions or trauma.
  6. separation of the nail from the nail bed.


What vitamin deficiency causes brown lines in fingernails?

Nail color changes.

Nail plate discoloration can result from several nutritional deficiencies. Research has shown vitamin B12 deficiency to cause brown-gray nail discoloration.

What vitamin deficiency causes lines in nails?

Our nails naturally develop slight vertical ridges as we age. However, severe and raised ridges can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B12 or keratin can result in fingernail ridges. Hormonal changes can also cause ridges to appear.

Is melanonychia common?

Longitudinal melanonychia is quite common in dark-skinned races, especially in people of African descent. It is reported that nearly 100% of African-Americans develop this condition before 50 years of age1, 2, 3. Compared with dark-skinned races, the incidence in whites is very low at around 1%.

Can melanonychia turn into melanoma?

There are times melanonychia is so egregious that it can only be melanoma. A wide, deeply pigmented band with irregular lines and pigmented extension onto the periungual tissues is nearly pathognomonic for melanoma.


How long does it take for melanonychia to go away?

In the majority of iatrogenic melanonychia cases, the pigmentation develops 3-8 weeks after the initiation of treatment and fades away 6-8 weeks following treatment cessation [3].

What causes melanoma under toenail?

However, subungual melanoma isn't usually caused by the sun. Most cases seem to be caused by injury or trauma. It also tends to affect middle-aged and older adults with darker skin. Additionally, subungual melanoma is more prevalent in the nails of your thumbs and big toes.

Can low iron affect toenails?

Spoon nails usually develop on fingernails, but they can also occur in your toenails. The most common cause of spoon nails is iron deficiency, or anemia. This makes your level of red blood cells lower than normal.

How can you tell if a nail is iron?

Take your piece of metal and test its magnetization by sticking a magnet to it. If your metal sticks to the magnet, the metal could be cast iron or steel. If the metal does not stick to the magnet, your metal could be copper, brass, solver or aluminum.


How do you know if your iron is low in your body?

Common symptoms include fatigue, palenes, shortness of breath, and dry or damaged hair and skin. If you think you have symptoms of iron deficiency, talk with a doctor.

What are Mees lines?

Mees' lines (also known as Aldrich or Reynolds' lines) are transverse white bands on the nail plate laid down during periods of stress. Common associations are poisioning (arsenic, thallium, fluorosis), severe infection, renal disease, cardiac failure, and malignant disease.

What do your toenails say about your health?

Yellow Toenails

Your toenails tell a lot about your overall health. A fungal infection often causes thickened yellow toenails. Thick, yellow nails also can be a sign of an underlying disease, including lymphedema (swelling related to the lymphatic system), lung problems, psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis.

What are Muehrcke's lines?

Muehrcke lines are multiple transverse white linear bands parallel to the lunula of the fingernail. They represent an apparent leukonychia as they result from an abnormality in the vasculature of the nail bed. This activity reviews the etiology, evaluation, and treatment of patients with this condition.