If your toe is constantly hitting against the front of your shoe when running or playing a sport such as basketball, you can develop a black toenail. A black toenail not only looks unpleasant but it can cause pain and discomfort as well.
Common Causes of Black Toenails
A black toenail is commonly caused by shoes that do not fit properly. For example:
- Too big. Shoes that are too big can cause your feet to slide forward and hit against the front end of the shoe.
- Too tight. Shoes that are too tight can cramp up the end of your toes and put pressure on your toenails.
When your shoes do not fit properly, they can cause damage to the toenails. The trauma created when the toenail is jammed against the front of the shoe causes the tissue of the nail bed to bleed and pool under the nail. This bleeding is what causes the toenail to look black and discolored.
Some other causes of a black toenail are:
- Fungal infection
- Skin cancer
- Change in skin pigmentation
- Laceration under the nail
Preventing and Treating a Black Toenail
Black toenails will typically go away on their own, but it can take several months. The condition will diminish once new tissue grows completely under the toenail itself.
There are several ways to prevent a black toenail from happening in the first place. These include:
- Wear shoes that fit properly.
- Cut your toenails straight across and keep them short.
- Always wear socks in your shoes.
If a black toenail is causing you extreme pain and interfering with daily activities, contact a podiatrist for an evaluation. A podiatrist will examine your toe to rule out other possible causes of the black toenail such as a fracture or cut under the nail. In addition, a podiatrist can drain the blood that has accumulated to reduce pressure on your toe and eliminate pain.
Time to See an Experienced Podiatrist
If you are experiencing pain from a black toenail and need to have it evaluated, contact the specialists at Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry. We offer a free consultation and can create a treatment plan based on your specific needs. To set up an appointment with one of our experienced podiatrists, fill out our contact form online or call our office at (301) 515-FEET.