Why Is My Toenail Black?
Have you ever looked down and noticed that one of your toenails was black? Usually, black toenails indicate that the nail is dying, though there are numerous potential causes. Some are serious, and only a medical professional can give you a definitive diagnosis about why a toenail is black. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor for an examination.
Many people open up a free search engine and type in the question: “Why is my toenail black?” Most assume that it’s the result of an injury, which may very well be true. Injury can be broken down into two main categories, sudden blunt force trauma and repeated minor insults.
Sudden blunt force trauma occurs when you drop something heavy on your toe or you get upset and kick an object much harder than your foot. A blunt force injury severe enough to kill the nail will often render you unable to walk because of the level of pain associated with it. Usually, the toenail will gradually begin to bruise at the base, and work its way up, unless you hit it in the center of the nail, which usually doesn’t cause a bruise. Eventually, blue becomes black, as the pain goes away, and the nail falls off.
Runners toe occurs when the nail bed endures multiple minor insults, and is not restricted solely to runners. Wearing socks or shoes that are too small can result in this, those it is more common among athletes than anyone else. This is because athletes are on their feet constantly, often running, and with each stride they apply force on the nail, they cause more damage.
This results in a bruise that forms at the base of the nail, and may be accompanied by swelling. The bruise then travels up the nail causing it to turn black, as with blunt force trauma. Runner’s toe can be as painful, if more painful than blunt force trauma, once circulation has had the chance to return, though with repeated minor insults, adrenaline usually masks the pain associated with it, so many runners are unaware of the result until it’s too late.
Another common cause for a black toenail is toenail fungus. Black toenail fungus often results in the discoloration of the toenail, though it depends on the severity of the infection. With a fungal infection, a black toenail does not always mean that it’s dead. It could mean that the infection has caused bleeding beneath the nail bed, much to the likes of a blood blister. It could also mean that the infection has cut off the circulation to the nail.