Black Toenail Fungus: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & How To Prevent It

Many people suffer from black toenail fungus infection, even though nails can be caused by a variety of causes, both benign and serious. Knowing that in most cases, it is easy to treat, except in some serious cases.

As a result, if you want to know what black toenail fungus is, what causes it, when you should see a doctor, the most important treatments available to treat it, and how to protect yourself from it, read on.


What is black toenail fungus?


If you have a dark, thick toenail, it could be toenail fungus, which is caused by dermatophytes, a type of fungus. It causes color changes, thickening, and abnormally shaped nails in the toenail and the area beneath the nail.

This infection rarely goes away on its own, and treating it with prescription medications can take a year or more. These can either be applied to the nail or taken as a pill.


Causes of a black toenail


The cause of black toenails on your feet could be benign or indicate a serious condition. Those who suffer from the blackening of the nails should be aware of the possible causes.

If you are unsure of the cause, consult a doctor to determine the cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


1.Wear tight shoes


This is one of the most common causes of black toenail fungus, and it can be caused by running or wearing inappropriate shoes. This is most likely the cause of black nails if they appear shortly after training or after spending the day in tight or high-heeled shoes.

It should be noted that the severity of the condition, in this case, can range from mild (the appearance of a small painless black or blue discoloration under the nail) to severe (large blood bubbles between the nail). In mild cases, there is no need for treatment, and the black color will fade as the nail grows.

Large blood bubbles may cause the nail to separate partially or completely from the nail plate in severe cases. This can be excruciatingly painful, particularly if the nail is only partially removed. If the nail is completely separated, it is dead and will no longer cause pain.

2.Hematomas under the nail

Dropping a heavy object on the foot can rupture the blood vessels under the nail bed, causing blood to pool at the bottom. This type of injury (which we call subungual hematomas) is easy to diagnose because it appears immediately after the accident.

3.Fungal infection

A fungal infection (like athlete’s foot) can spread to the toes, turning them yellow, leafy, green, brown, violet, or black. This color spectrum is typical of fungal infections, where residues accumulate near the infection to give the black color.

Toenails are frequently exposed to fungi because shoes and socks provide a moist and warm environment that promotes fungi growth.


4.Skin cancer

Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, is another cause of black toenail fungus, and over time, the skin under the nail turns black; because skin cancer grows slowly and is painless in its onset, the disease can be difficult and late to diagnose.

But there is a distinctive sign that indicates this, which is that the black color extends outside the nail. If the black color appears slowly and without pain, you should consult a doctor immediately, although melanoma is a dangerous type of cancer, its early diagnosis helps treat it.


5.Skin color change

Sometimes the reason is that the skin’s color changes to dark; it’s just a change in the color of the skin, just like any other area of the body prone to pigmentation and darkening.


Skin discoloration on the toes can be symmetrical, affecting identical nails on both feet at the same time.


6.Underlying health disorders


There are some medical conditions that can cause black toenail fungus, such as:


  • Diabetes.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Heart disease.
  • Anemia.


When should you go to the doctor?


Keep in mind that a black toenail does not always necessitate a doctor’s visit; the need for medical treatment is determined by the underlying cause. Knowing the cause can assist you in making this decision.

On the other hand, if you don’t know what’s causing your black toenail, you should see your doctor in case it’s a sign of a serious medical condition.


It should also be noted that not all cases of toenail fungus necessitate a visit to the doctor. If you have diabetes, however, you should see your doctor for treatment.


A dermatologist can also assist in the diagnosis and treatment of black toenails. If you suspect melanoma, you should consult a dermatologist.

However, if your black toenail fungus is caused by another underlying health condition, such as diabetes, you will also need to see your primary care physician to treat the underlying cause.


Can black toenails cause any complications?


If left untreated, toenail fungus can spread throughout your feet and other parts of your body. It may also result in permanent nail damage.

As a result, if you notice any black spots that appear to be spreading throughout the nail, or if they do not disappear despite your toenail growing out, you should consult your doctor.


Black Toenail Treatments

The nail will eventually return to normal, but if the black color does not fade, you should see a doctor; the treatment will be as follows:


  • The doctor uses a medical needle to make a small hole in the nail in order to drain the blood inside the nail if the cause was a collision with something large.
  • The doctor will advise you to wear shoes that are the correct size for your feet and are not too narrow or too wide.
  • If the cause is a fungal infection, the patient will usually need to use medications and treatments prescribed by the doctor to help eliminate the fungi.



Prevention of black toenails

We can protect ourselves from black nail infection by avoiding the following:


  • Choose comfortable shoes that are not too narrow or too wide, and wear sports shoes when exercising.
  • Use UV sunscreen either in summer or winter to reduce skin discoloration.
  • Feet should be washed and dried thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes.
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