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A 39-year-old female asked:

Why would my toe nails turn orange? they look like i painted them but only half way down. also the inside of my socks turn a little orange.

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Hello, : Hello, when i first looked at your question i thought about fungus. However, if your sock is also turning orange that makes me wonder about coloring agents. Sometimes, you can absorb dyes that are are used to color your shoes. If your nails are pressing against the shoe directly, I am reasoning that both the nail and sock could absorb color (especially if the shoe became wet). I see that you do not have a specialty noted. I will tab this for podiatry, as one of the podiatrists may also have ideas about this.
Dr. Howard Fox
Podiatry 42 years experience
I : I think dr. Fowler hit the "nail" on the head here (sorry). While a fungus is one of the leading causes of discolored toenails, there are many other reasons for a toenail to discolor. The typical presentation with fungus toenails is one nail is affected, and then, years later, another one, then years later, another one, and so on over a decade or three. For all your nails to suddenly turn orange, uniformly, and this discoloration appears on your sock, it is almost certainly some kind of interaction between a dye, pressure, and perhaps perspiration. Wet a white piece of cloth and using your hand, push it into the toe part of the shoes you've been wearing and rub the inside of the shoe hard. Do you see any orange color on the cloth when you remove it? If so, it's some material inside the toe box of the shoe that's interacting with your toenails. Being a dye, it's unlikely this will wash out of your nails. If you avoid the implicated shoe, in time, the color will grow out with the toenails and your nails will return to their usual state of prettiness.

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Last updated Aug 2, 2018

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