Why is My Toenail Black?

If you have a black toenail, most likely it is the result of a subungual hematoma. Basically, what that means is that blood has collected under the nail causing a black or bruised appearance. At Lansdowne Podiatry when patients come in with a black toenail, our board-qualified foot doctor, Monique Renee Rolle will examine the toe and foot and also ask questions about your lifestyle and activities that may have led to the black nail. Some common causes are:

  • Trauma to the toe from dropping a heavy object on the toe
  • Injury, such as severely stubbing the toe
  • Runner’s condition due to the impact of the big toe repeatedly rubbing against the end of the sneaker, particularly if it does not fit properly

If none of these apply to you, it is possible that your black toenail is actually a sign of a fungal infection or some other skin or nail disorder. The foot doctor will know the diagnostic tests to use to determine the exact cause of your abnormal toenail condition.

Is Treatment Necessary?

Since a black toenail is often the result of some kind of injury or trauma to the toe it is likely to be painful and feel tender to the touch. In most cases, the injury will heal on its own and the toenail will simply grow out. If the pain is excessive, however, and does not seem to be going away in a reasonable period of time, damage to the bone or underlying tissue may have occurred. In these cases treatment may be required. If you have a black or other discolored or disfigured toenail, make an appointment at our Leesburg office to get it checked out by calling: (571-223-0424) or request an appointment online.