Why is My Big Toe Nail White?

Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
By Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
Updated on November 15, 2023

Having white spots or discoloration under your toenails can be concerning. However, there are often harmless explanations for changes in nail appearance. In this article, we will explore one of the most common causes of white toenails – leukonychia – and what you can expect.

Why is my big toe nail white?

One of the most frequent reasons for a white big toenail is leukonychia, which refers to white spots or streaks in the nails. Leukonychia is caused by keratin, the natural protein that makes up your nails, depositing in an uneven fashion under the nail. This allows light to pass through unevenly, making parts of the nail appear whiter than others.

What causes leukonychia?

Leukonychia is generally harmless and has no identifiable cause in many cases. Sometimes it can be linked to minor local trauma from footwear or injury. Genetics may also play a role, as leukonychia tends to run in families. Other potential contributing factors include nutritional deficiencies, psoriasis, fungal infections like onychomycosis, and other medical conditions.

Treatment and outlook

Usually, no treatment is needed for leukonychia as it does not cause any symptoms or health problems. The white spots may fade on their own over several months as the nail grows out. To speed this process, you can trim the affected portion of nail. Make sure to keep nails clean and dry. See your doctor if you have accompanying nail changes, pain, or the white areas increase in size or number over time.


In many cases, a white big toenail is simply due to leukonychia, which is a common and benign nail condition. While it may be aesthetically unappealing, it does not signal a serious health problem on its own. Seek medical advice if you have additional symptoms or concerns. Following basic nail hygiene is usually all that’s needed when dealing with white toenails.

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