The 4 Most Common Causes of Black Toenails

causes of black toenailsAre you wondering about the causes of black toenails? Toenails are typically white, so experiencing black toenails yourself or noticing them on a loved one can be alarming. Seeking out professional help from a foot doctor is the best course of action to rule out serious problems. Keep reading for the four most common causes of this condition and learn what you can do to restore the nails to good health.

Cause #1: Underlying Medical Conditions

Nails can become discolored due to medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, anemia, or kidney disease. While the color may be black, health conditions can also lead to nails that range from brown to red and green to purple. It’s possible to have discolored nails that do not cause pain or discomfort, but if you are experiencing pain or noticing discharge or foul odors coming from the nails, this is pointing to a need for quick medical attention.

Cause #2: Fungal Infection

Many people think of nail fungal infections as being yellow or white; however, they can also lead to blackish toenails due to a buildup of debris over time. Fungal infections thrive in warm, moist environments, so socks and shoes create the perfect environment for an infection to develop.

It’s important to understand a fungal infection will not go away on its own and can worsen with time. Seeking out a foot doctor is your best course of action.

Cause #3: Melanoma Skin Cancer

As one of the most serious forms of skin cancer, melanoma often looks like a dark black or brown spot, misshapen in appearance. The spots can form underneath the nail bed, leading to a black toenail. The quicker you can catch and treat melanoma, the better, which is why making an appointment with a qualified podiatrist right away is crucial.

Cause #4: Injury or Trauma

Just like any other part of your body, when your toe experiences trauma, such as dropping something on it or smashing it in some way, it can form a dark bruise under the nail. This happens when the blood vessels under the nail break and cause bleeding, which can lead to a black appearance. While this experience can be painful, it’s not serious. However, it’s possible the nail will fall off as the area heals.

Turn to a Trusted Podiatrist in Livonia, MI

If you aren’t sure how to determine the causes of black toenails, reach out to the experienced doctors at Foot HealthCare Associates. We treat all conditions related to the toes, feet, and ankles and can help you to arrive at a proper diagnosis and effective treatment. Connect with at 248.258.0001 to schedule an appointment.