Why are my toenails turning black, what do I do?

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Toenails turning black?

Have your toenails changed color? Are you asking yourself "Why are my toenails turning black ?" Have you noticed a black, purple, or brownish tint in one or more toes? If so, don’t fret, there are many reasons why nails change color, and you are about to get all the facts!

Trauma Injuries


Black, purple, or brownish discoloration of the toenail is frequently due to trauma. The most common trauma is from objects being dropped on the toenail. The black discolorations of nails frequently seen in runners is called runners toe. This discoloration results from bleeding under the nail. This may involve just a potion of the nail or the whole nail itself. This condition can be painful when the entire nail is involved. Medical attention is needed to relieve the pressure caused by the blood under the toenail. This is done by simply removing the nail and draining the blood clot.

Non-Traumatic Injuries


There are several other causes of toenails turning black, which include systemic chronic health problems, chronic ingrown toenails, and fungal infections. There is also a rare more serious cause of black discoloration of a toenails resulting from cancer known as malignant melanoma. So, it is important not to overlook any color changes in toenails since early diagnosis and treatment is essential to a good outcome.

If your toenails turning black it is important that you be evaluated and diagnosed by a podiatrist. If you have recently damaged your toenail or you have noticed any discoloration of your toenails, don’t hesitate to call and make an appointment with your local podiatrist. Here at Atlantic Foot & Ankle Specialists, were we will be happy to discuss with you your toenail concerns and treatment options.

Melissa F. Robitaille, DPM

Medicine, Surgery and Injuries of the Foot, Ankle and Leg for Adults and Children


  • Elijah Catoire Thursday, 08 March 2012

    As the infection progresses - if it's unchecked, that's, then we are likely to see the thickness of the affected nail being even further accentuated by the accumulation of debris underneath, this debris being the really type which is characteristic of all fungal infections. All this thickening and subsequent accumulation of debris) associated with nail-fungus has the ultimate impact of generating the afflicted nails incredibly hard to trim, with attempts to cut them frequently resulting in outright harm to the nail-cutters employed in cutting them.

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