The fact that you’ve landed on this page of my web site would suggest that you, or someone you know, has got a black or blackening toenail. Don’t worry. I am here to help you with all the information you need. First off, it might not be fungus – but let’s take a look at things in more detail.
There are a few things that might cause your toenail to become black (or blue, purple, brown – generally dark colors).
Let’s go through the list first, then dive into more detail;
An injury – Bruising or a collection of blood under the toenail can cause the nail to appear dark with black, blue and purple shades of color. Often called ‘Runner’s toe’ it’s caused by an injury or trauma to the toe.
Cancer – A scary thought but it is a very rare condition. Cancer occurring in the nail bed and the surrounding area will show up as dark, tan and or black spots underneath your toenails or fingernails.
Dark Skin – If you have dark skin (African American or black people) it is not uncommon to have tan or dark lines running down your fingernails or toenails. Thought the possibility for cancer should not be ignored.
Fungus – A fungal nail infection can cause discoloration of fingernails and toenails. Toenail fungus can cause the nail to appear dark even black. Often though there will be other shades of yellow and green associated with fungus.
Symptoms of nail injury causing black nails
- Black, blue, red and or purple shade of toenail
- Loose nail
- Lose of the entire nail
Sometimes a nail injury can be a memorable event. Something like jamming your finger in a car door accidentally. It hurts a lot so you can remember it. Or you drop something heavy on your toe accidentally. This can cause a blood blister of sorts to form under the nail. This will turn the nail bed a dark shade of black, red and purple. It will likely be painful and you might eventually lose the entire toenail or fingernail.
Though sometimes a black toenail can be caused by an injury over a period of time, not in a single traumatic event. Running or playing sport can put pressure on toes and toenails. Especially with shoes that might be a bit too tight or too loose, that then cause your toes to rub. Eventually the rubbing and pressure can lead to bleeding under the nail and in the nail bed.
Injured nails are more susceptible to infection. Make sure you keep them clean and dry. At the first sign of puss or fungal infection, you should treat it with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal treatment. If it doesn’t improve, see your local doctor.
Symptoms of cancer causing black nails
Note: Cancer under the nails can only be correctly diagnosed by a biopsy. If you have any concerns, please see your doctor.
- Dark black or tan vertical (up and down) stripe
- Sometimes blurred borders
- Changes in the stripe over time
- Sometimes black or tan spots under the nail or in the nail itself
- A light line, getting thicker, wider and darker
The famous reggae musician Bob Marley died of nail cancer. The cancer begins in the nail bed and can be misdiagnosed as other nail problems. The presence of cancer in the nail matrix (nail growth area) can discolor new nail growth. Think of a piece of paper being dragged across a black paintbrush. As the nail (paper) grows, the cancer (paint brush) colors a black line. As the cancer grows, the line can thicken.
If you have a family history of skin cancer or you have any of the symptoms mentioned, go see your doctor immediately. Get a biopsy done on the black nail to be safe and sure.
Symptoms of fungus causing black nails
- Discolored toenails – black, yellow, white and greens shades of color
- Brittle nail
- Thickening nail
- Sometimes can be itchy
- Bad smell
- Scaly skin next to the toenails
- No pain, usually
The most likely disease that occurs in toenails is a fungus infection. As the fungus attacks the nail and nail bed, the toenail discolors to darker shades. In response, the toenail begins to thicken and become brittle. Eventually the nail will be lost entirely.
Injuries to toenails can increase the risk of getting a fungal infection. In some what of a vicious circle, toenails that are weakened by fungus and are easier to injure and damage.
What to do if you have a black nail from injury?
In most cases toenail and fingernail injuries will heal by themselves. Keep the injured nail clean and dry to prevent any infections.
However, if the nail is painful with a lot of pressure under the nail from bleeding, medical treatment might be required. Book an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor might recommend removal of the nail or a small hole might be made in the nail to reduce pressure and blood build up.
What to do if you have black nail from cancer?
Go see your local doctor as soon as humanly possible. Stop reading and go book an appointment now. It is important to catch and treat nail cancer (or any cancer for that matter) as quickly as possible. Amputations of the fingertip and / or chemotherapy are common treatments. Better to lose a fingertip than your life. For more information, you can check out http://nailcancerawareness.com/
What do if you have black nails from fungus?
If you have a fungal nail infection you should start treatment right away. The longer you wait, the longer the fungus has to take root and will go deeper. Once fungus gets to the nail bed it is very difficult to get rid of.
There are many types of treatments available – oral medications, laser treatments and topical ointments or creams. Each has their upsides and down sides though generally it’s easiest and cheapest to start with a topical treatment. You can read more about fungus and treatments on the front page of my blog.
Combine treatment with good foot and toe hygiene. Wash your toes well and make sure you dry them properly. A good treatment with a product like ClearNail Pro+ combined with good hygiene will have your nails looking like new. Stick with the treatment and you’ll see good results and stop the fungus in it’s tracks. Get rid of nail fungus now – click here to learn more about ClearNail Pro+ and buy online.