Tuesday, 05 December 2023 00:00

Causes and Treatment of Black Toenail

A toenail turning black could be more than just a cosmetic concern. Discoloration, particularly a black toenail, is often a sign of an underlying issue that may require attention. One of the primary reasons for a black toenail is a bruise beneath the nail caused by trauma or pressure, also called a subungual hematoma. This common occurrence can result from stubbing your toe or dropping a heavy object on it. It also is common among runners as a result of the repetitive impact of the toenail against the front of the shoe. Shoes that are too tight or poorly fitting may create friction, causing damage to the nail and leading to subungual hematomas. Further, fungal nail infections, particularly in individuals with compromised immune systems, diabetes, or vascular disease, can cause toenail discoloration. These infections thrive in moist environments, making sweaty feet more susceptible. Ingrown toenails, a painful condition where the nail grows into the surrounding skin, can also cause discoloration. This may lead to bacterial infections, contributing to the darkening of the nail. In rare cases, a black toenail may be a sign of subungual melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Although uncommon, it is essential to seek medical attention if you notice persistent discoloration that is not linked to trauma or fungal infections. Certain medications can lead to toenail discoloration, including cancer drugs, antibiotics, retinoids, and drugs used to treat autoimmune conditions. If you have noticed your toenail changing in color, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist who can determine the cause, and offer treatment options.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Jack A. Sasiene, DPM of Texas. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Texas City and Lake Jackson, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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