White Spots on Nails

It is common get white spots over nails. Some people develop white spots, while others may have white colored lines or striations over their nails.

On the basis of the pattern, white discoloration of the nails can be of three types:

  • Discrete white spots over the nail (Partialis)
  • Condition where the whole of the nail appears to be white in color (Totalis)
  • White stria or lines over the nail (Striata)

The condition is medically called Leukonychia. This is commoner over the finger nails than the toe nails.


Usually. people attribute calcium or zinc deficiency with it. It is a myth that white spots over the nail are due to some mineral or vitamin deficiency.

White spots are actually a result of some past trauma /injury that occurred over the nail bed (nail matrix).

Our finger get hit several times in a day with hard surfaces, as we carry out our day to day activities. During severe impacts, a localized area of injury develops in the nail bed area. As the nail grows, the injured spot becomes visible as a white spot on the nail.

These spots are usually painless. However, if you press hard over them, it may sometimes give pain.

However, protein deficiency has been medically associated with white spots on finger nails. It is hypothesized that, may be the impact of traumas is more in malnourished, protein deficient individuals.

Alternatively, it may be that the healing process is slow and inadequate in protein deficient individuals.

Rarely, white discoloration over the nail may be a fungal infection.

Recognizing Fungal Infection

The white growth is flaky and over the nail. It may be embedded inside the nail also. The growth is irregular and has a rough and dull look. You are able to scrub a portion of it with a toothbrush.


The condition is symptomless. The white spots do not give any trouble. So, nothing needs to be done. Just let the nail grow and the white spot would get away.

It is beneficial to take a healthy balanced diet, containing enough of fruits, vegetables and sources of protein, on a daily basis.

If the white discoloration is due to some fungal growth, the following needs to be done:

  • Scrub the affected nail with a soft toothbrush and soap water. Do this gently to scrub off slough from over the nail.
  • Dry up the affected nail properly with a clean towel.
  • Apply an anti fungal cream over the affected area. You may need to apply it for a week to ten days.

Fungal infections are usually very resistant to go. Maintaining good hygiene helps in quicker eradication of the infection. The affected nail needs to be kept clean and dry throughout the day. Keep it away from water works and moisture.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “White Spots Over Finger Nails

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You need to get yourself examined by a skin specialist to get these lesions diagnosed.

      The patches are likely to be fungal infestation or some kind of allergy (may be from the garment you are wearing).

      In either case, prompt treatment is required.