Our team of medical experts are ready to help

Your questions answered


Jo asked...

I have a brown mark under my big toe nail, its has been there a while...

I have a brown mark under my big toe nail, its has been there a while, and doesn't seem to go away. I have never worried about it before, but have recently read an article about cancer under the nail and was wondering if i should be concerned.

  • mother-thermometer-doctor-at-hand

    Do you need to see a GP ASAP?

     

    Would you like to speak with a doctor by video or phone at a time that suits you?

    Our Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere, is available on a pay-as-you-go basis with prices starting at just £60 per consultation*.

    Quote AXA20 to receive a 20% discount. (* Prices subject to change.)

The answer

Hello, thank you for contacting us with your question. There are several reasons why we can see discolouring under the toe nail and usually these aren’t a cause for concern. One of the most common reasons for this type of appearance are splinter haemorrhages, these are small bleeds from tiny vessels underneath the nail bed and will look like small brown streaks or lines underneath the nail, occasionally small haematomas can also form, haematomas are a collection of old blood and under the nail they can appear in a small brown patch. Previous trauma to the nail or toe can also cause brown patches and their appearance is usually due to this type bleeding. Skin conditions such as psoriasis can also cause brown patches to form and occasionally fungal infections in the bed of the nail can cause this although most fungal infections affect the nail bed itself. Cancer under the nail is quite relatively rarely seen while the condition of the nails and nail beds can provide information about a persons’ general health such as any underlying vitamin deficiencies that may be present. We are enclosing a link where you can read more information about nails and their possible problems here:

Nail abnormalities - NHS

Under the circumstances we think it would be sensible to arrange have a chat with your Gp, he will be able to examine the nail bed for you and both diagnose the problem and prescribe any treatment should it be needed.

We do hope this information will be of use, best of luck.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses