Fingernails and toenails, made up of layers of a hardened protein called keratin, grow from the base of the nail under your cuticle. As new cells grow, older cells are pushed out toward your toe or fingertips. Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They’re uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration. However, nails are susceptible to disorders and infections.

Your fingernails and toenails can serve as indicators for the overall health of your body, providing important clues about disease, infection or other conditions that may exist. That’s why it’s important to consult a Riverchase provider if your nails don’t look right.


Sometimes fingernails and toenails develop harmless vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the nail tip, which tends to become more prominent as we grow older. Fingernails and toenails can develop white lines or spots if they have been injured, but these spots eventually grow out and are not a cause for concern.

However, the following signs and symptoms are cause for concern:

  • Discoloration of the entire nail or dark streaking underneath it
  • Shape changes, such as curling
  • Thickness, either unusual thinning or thickening of the nail
  • Separation of the nail from surrounding skin
  • Bleeding around the nails
  • Redness, including swelling or pain around the nails

These symptoms could be an indication of bacterial, viral or fungal nail infections, ingrown nails (often the big toe), injuries to the nail bed or nail issues as a symptom of diseases.

What Causes It?

Ingrown nails can happen for many reasons. The most common causes include improper nail trimming or shoes that are too tight. Sometimes, the nail is just too big, particularly for a toe. Injuries, like stubbing your toe or having it stepped on, may result in an ingrown nail.

Nail infections (bacterial, fungal and viral) are often picked up from exposure to hot tubs, salons, contact lens solution, sinks and household sponges because bacteria and fungi thrive in warm, moist environments. The infection can be short-term or recurring. Severe infections may cause nail loss.

Nail bed injuries result from the nail being crushed, pinched or cut. Getting your hand or toes slammed in a door is, unfortunately, a common cause. This type of injury can be very painful and result in a pooling of blood (hematoma) under the nail. More severe injuries can result in cracking or tearing off pieces of the nail.

Disease can affect the health of your fingernails and toenails too. Not eating well, or not getting the right vitamins in your diet may also affect the health of nails. There are many health conditions that can cause nail disorders. Identifying a problem with your nails may be the first step to the discovery of a larger health problem. Diseases that can affect the nails include oxygen disorders, kidney and liver disease, thyroid diseases, psoriasis and skin cancers.

Treatment Options

A Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery provider can diagnose the source of your nail condition and then recommend the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options may include topical creams, oral medications, and in some cases, laser treatment or surgery. You may be referred to a specialist if your doctor suspects an underlying health condition like kidney or liver disease.

Nail bed injuries may require drainage of the hematoma to restore the nail. It normally takes 3-6 months for new nail tissue to grow out from the cuticle. For severe damage, surgery may be necessary to reconstruct the nail bed.

Locations with this service

38162 Medical Center Ave
Zephyrhills, FL 33540
2625 Executive Park Dr, Suite 7
Weston, FL 33331
Venice Health Park 
1295 Jacaranda Blvd.
Venice, FL 34292
Tampa Palms 
15310 Amberly Dr, Suite 150
Tampa, FL 33647
Sun City Center 
1007 E Del Webb Blvd, Suite 101
Sun City Center, FL 33573
Pembroke Pines 
603 N Flamingo Rd, Suite 350
Pembroke Pines, FL 33028
9015 US Highway 301 N
Parrish, FL 34219
North Port – Commons 
14840 Tamiami Trail
North Port, FL 34287
North Port – Bobcat Village 
2481 Bobcat Village Center Rd, Suite 101
North Port, FL 34288
Naples – Downtown 
261 9th St S
Naples, FL 34102
Naples – Colonial Square 
1108 Goodlette-Frank Rd. N.
Naples, FL 34102
Naples – Central 
9125 Corsea Del Fontana Way, Suite 100
Naples, FL 34109
Formerly Bowes Dermatology
Mercy Professional Building Suite 6008
3659 S Miami Ave, Suite 6008
Miami, FL 33133
Lakewood Ranch 
8340 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Suite 260
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Fort Myers – West 
9400 Gladiolus Dr, Suite 320
Fort Myers, FL 33908
Fort Myers – South 
7331 Gladiolus Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33908
406 N Indiana Ave
Englewood, FL 34223
Deerfield Beach 
1880 W Hillsboro Blvd, Suite A
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
1122 Druid Rd E
Clearwater, FL 33756
Cape Coral – Surfside 
2366 Surfside Blvd, Suite C111
Cape Coral, FL 33991
Cape Coral 
413 Del Prado Blvd S, Suite 101
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Bonita Springs 
25987 S Tamiami Trail, Unit 90
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Boca Raton – East 
200 Glades Road, Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Bay Harbor Islands 
1111 Kane Concourse, Suite 100
Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154
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