No matter what the ground hog predicted, spring is coming soon! We are ready to welcome bright blooms of flowers and surrounding greenery, but black toenails?—not so much! With warmer weather, however, even more runners are hitting the trails, which means more risk for this condition. Although there are several possible causes, it is most often seen in runners’ feet because of the constant stress they endure. Here’s a closer look at what causes the discoloration, and what you can do to prevent black toenails from happening to you:
The number one reason for toenails turning dark is trauma. Runners who train intensely or do a lot of hill work often end up with this condition, because of the repetitive action of their toes ramming against the front of their shoes. Even if you’re a non-runner, though, you’re not out of the woods just yet. Dropping a heavy object on your foot can lead to discolored nails as well, and if you frequently walk barefoot, you are putting yourself at risk.
Basically, when there is trauma to the toenail, blood collects beneath it, leading to discoloration and sometimes an extreme amount of pressure. Often, the nail will fall off on its own, however if it becomes increasingly painful, a trip to Sierra Foot & Ankle would be wise. We can drain the blood by penetrating the nail and releasing the pressure, or we might need to remove the nail altogether. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Luckily you have the power to prevent black toenails from occurring in the first place.
Alternate running with some low impact activities like biking or swimming. Make sure your shoes fit and offer a wide toe box with plenty of room. Refrain from going barefoot, and take extra care when lifting or moving heavy objects. Keeping nails trimmed even with the tips of your toes can help as well.Because black toenails can be a sign of other conditions, including fungal infections and—in rare cases—cancerous melanoma, it is important to see Victoria L. Melhuish, DPM for an accurate diagnosis. If you are noticing that your toenails are turning black, call (775) 783-8037 for an appointment today. We are located in Gardnerville, NV, and also serve the Johnson Lane, Carson City, Gardnerville Ranchos, and Reno communities.