What Do Your Toenails Say About Your Health?

  • By Judith Sullivan
  • 30 Mar, 2017
08 Dec, 2015
Author/blogger Reggie Simpson

Keep a Watchful Eye

Take a look at your toenails. What do you see? You may not have realised, but the way your toenails look and feel can say an awful lot about your overall health.

You should not only take care of your toenails, but also pay attention to their overall condition and question any changes.

It’s important to make yourself aware of the issues that may be indicated by your nails, so here are several conditions that may show through their condition:


You may have heard of hair falling out after a bout of severe stress, and as the nails are closely linked to hair, it should come as no surprise that they can begin to show symptoms too.

Throughout very stressful periods, you may begin to show horizontal white or discoloured lines on the nails. Rest assured, though, these are not permanent and will start to fade as the situation resolves.


Sometimes, discoloured lines running vertically from tip to cuticle can be a sign of cancerous melanomas or benign moles. These changes in nail pigmentation are often related to ethnicity and are usually more likely to present themselves in people of Asian or African descent.


People suffering from arthritis may notice small cysts that begin to grow on or around the cuticles. These are benign and will present no harm; however, it is important to get them seen to by a professional who will know the safest, most effective way to remove them.


When you think of psoriasis, you may think of red patches on the skin. However, the nails can also be affected – usually in the form of a yellow or red patch of discolouration. Other visible signs may include indentations, white spots or black lines.

Kidney Disease

Acute or chronic disease of the kidney could be indicated through the nails. Symptoms include Beau’s Lines (horizontal stripes across the nail), ridged, rough nails that are often concave in shape and can often be a sign of anaemia, or white streaks or spots on the nail.

Darier Disease

The genetically transmitted Darier Disease usually occurs in adolescence. As it develops, those afflicted will notice wide stripes of red or while running from the cuticle to tip of their finger and toenails. It can also cause a V-shaped groove close to the fingertip.

If you think your nails could be indicative of something more serious, or if they simply need a little care and attention, Betafeet Podiatry offers nail care and nail surgery to ensure your health and comfort.

By Judith Sullivan 09 Dec, 2017
By Reggie Simpson
By Judith Sullivan 28 Sep, 2017

We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.

Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( www.renniegrove.org ).

Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.

The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: http://www.renniegrove.org/support/our-shops/online-shop/page/2/ .

Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018): 

‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’

Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer.  Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.

But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.

Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow.   He died in June 2016, aged 74.

Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.

So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.

We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.

The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members. 

I quote the following:

‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.

Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher

September is World Alzheimer’s Month.




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