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Here’s How To Treat Brown Spots And Toenail Discoloration

Last Updated on June 25, 2022
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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Noticed Brown Spots Under Your Toenails? Here’s What They Are And How to Treat them: 

About to give yourself a new pedicure and notice brown spots and discoloration under your toenails? 

Your toenails and fingernails actually tell you a lot about your health and it’s worth paying attention to the signs, in most cases it’s nothing to worry about but it’s important not to ignore them! 

But no need to panic

It is actually very common though, your toes go through a fair amount of trauma on the day and it most commonly causes spots and discolorations.

Just dropped something on your toe the other day and wondering why it’s got a brown spot and discoloration? Then there’s definitely no need to worry, it may just be bruised!

However, if you have any cause for concern, instead of worrying yourself silly, consult the doctor! 

But in minor cases here is everything you need to know! 

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So, what causes brown spots on toenails 

In most cases, brown spots underneath your nails are often caused by trauma and may just be a simple bruise.

If you dropped something heavy on your tootsie or even stubbed it on the corner– we’ve all done it and felt the pain it may just be bruised and will go away after a couple of days.

Other causes may be a fungal infection: in most cases fungal infections make the toe turn yellow and cause it to crack. Toe fungus is also known as athlete’s foot and can occur when your toe gets infected with yeast or molds causing it to crack.

However, in other cases, it could form a brown spot, if you’ve noticed it being there for a while or you’re worried I would recommend going to a professional or even your doctor. 

What about in the case of an injury?

If you’ve realized that these brown spots and discoloration may have been caused by you dropping something on your foot, heavy or light, or even stubbed your toe, this may be the reason for the discoloration in your toe.

This is also known as a subungual hematoma, which makes your nail appear red or purple, turning to a brown or black color– and in this case cause brown spots.

If the affected area feels tender then it may just be badly bruised and will go away eventually.

So how do you treat it? 

If the subungual hematoma doesn’t go away on its own here are some treatments that I found particularly helpful to boost the process and help with the pain:

– Make sure the foot is well-rested, applying ice where possible to help with the pain.

– Make sure you wrap up the toe to protect it from tight shoes or even bumping it again.

– A subungual hematoma will usually heal within a few days but the discolored nail can take up to nine months to go away.

– If the pain isn’t going away or getting any better after a week, go see a doctor as it may need some treatment.

Can these brown spots be a sign of melanoma? 

Yes but only in extreme cases, plus it is very rare. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer and can often be spotted if you notice a black stripe going down your toenail.

If this brown spot is fairly large or just isn’t going away maybe that’s when you should go and seek a doctor, in case it may be this serious.

The doctor will take a series of tests to diagnose the brown spot and put your mind at ease if it’s nothing to worry about– a small brown spot under the toenail may rarely be a sign of this though!

In other worst-case scenarios, it could indicate a heart-related or skin disease if the spot gets bigger or doesn’t go away. However, in most cases, it is probably just a bruise or even a vitamin deficiency.

Can nail polish cause these brown spots and discoloration? 

Actually yes it can, if you use a deep and highly pigmented nail polish it can penetrate through the layers of keratin in your nail, causing it to stain.

Even leaving your nail polish on for too long can cause staining too when you remove it, if you notice red, orange, and sometimes brown discoloration this may be the cause.

Even some nail hardeners can cause discoloration, in most cases, brown spots and discoloration on your toenails are caused by either nail polish or injury.

They usually go away after a while, but I would recommend taking a break from polishing your toenails for a week or two to help with the discoloration.


What causes nail fungus? 

Nail fungus, which is also known as onychomycosis is one of the top causes of toenail discoloration. The toenail fungus also known as dermatophyte eats your body’s keratin causing it to discolor and cause brown spots underneath the nail.

If your toenail appears yellow, reddish-brown, green, or even black this is most likely a fungus infection.

As the fungus spreads so will the discoloration, so once you spot it I would start treating it straight away.

It becomes more common as you get older as your blood circulation becomes reduced and your immune system gets weaker. However, it can also be caused if you sweat a lot, walk barefoot or have cut your toenail.

It’s a fairly easy fix and here are some of the best methods:

How do you treat nail fungus and discoloration of your toenail?

The best way to treat these brown spots is to find the root of the problem, literally!

If it’s just a result of an injury during sports or dropping something on your toe then as time goes on it should disappear on its own.

If it’s a result of nail fungus, I have selected some of the best antifungal treatments and even some remedies you can do at home to help treat them!

– Avocado oil is also brilliant when it comes to reducing and curing dark spots, and improving the health of your toenails as a whole– it’s definitely worth trying it out!

– Ariella Nail Fungus Treatment: This is another excellent formula to repair nail fungus in both your fingernails and toenails. It helps to eliminate yeast and fungi that cause cracks and discoloration of your nails.  If fungus is the root of your problem then it’s definitely worth trying this one out!

– When it comes down to your manicure, investing in antifungal base coats always helps to repair and restore the nail and prevent brown spots and discoloration. My favorite has to be Maxus Base Coat’.  Not only is it an 11-free and quality base coat but it also treats fungal infections and worth trying out! 

– If none of these work then I would recommend trying a more advanced fungal treatment, like  ‘Foot Cure’s Extra Strong Nail Fungus Treatment’. It is healthy and free of harmful chemicals and will not only help cure nail fungus like this but also help to prevent it in the future!

How do I get rid of brown spots and discoloration on my toenails at home? 

There are actually quite a few methods to get rid of these pesky brown spots with household items:

– Baking soda: This is brilliant for getting rid of fungal infections and brown spots if the fungus is the root of this issue.

All you need to do make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it directly to the affected part of the nail, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and repeat a few times a day until the fungus clears up

– Topical ointment: Now I know this is used to help to treat cold and cough symptoms but this ointment actually has ingredients that will help with fungi such as menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor.

It is worth applying it to the affected part of the nail for several weeks until it clears up. 

– Vinegar: Vinegar is something everyone usually has in the house, whether it’s in cooking or even cleaning supplies we all have some! It is actually brilliant for tackling toenail fungus.

Just so your toenails in a 2-1 mix of water to vinegar for a few weeks and you’ll be good to go!

Is there a way I can prevent it from happening again? 

Now getting rid of toenail discolorations and brown spots underneath the nail may take some time but once you’ve identified the cause it can be quite simple to prevent it.

Here’s how:

– Make sure to wash your feet regularly and nourish your nails with either cuticle oil or a moisturizer

– Make sure your shoes aren’t too tight and they are breathable for your feet (especially in the hot weather).

– Remember to keep your well-trimmed– right across the top to prevent sharp edges.

– If you love a good pedicure, make sure you know that the equipment had been well sterilised before and after use.

– Make sure you wear shoes around public areas like pools and public locker rooms

– Change your socks after every use and don’t reuse dirty socks for a second day running– we’ve all done it.

– Remove and repaint your nails every week, don’t leave the same polish on for more than two weeks at a time.

– After you get out of the shower make sure your feet are completely dry before putting on socks– this will prevent nail fungus from breeding in warm, damp areas in your socks.


Now when it comes to our toenails, we all hate little pesky spots and marks showing up. Lucky for you they are very common and fairly easy to treat, even with household supplies.

The best way to treat something like this is to work out the root of the problem, whether it’s a bruising or fungal infection causing these little spots– working this out will help.

If it doesn’t go away then I would recommend taking a trip to the doctor, to work out if it’s anything more serious.

But give some of these methods a try, the results may shock you!

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[Review] in 2022  written by nail expert Jess RowleyCheck out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px"...

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