Introduction to Black Toenails

If your New Year’s resolutions included taking up running, you may want to consider connecting with the Plano Pacers (if you haven’t already done so). This local running club has over 700 members and hosts monthly races, which makes it an invaluable resource to find support and provide motivation when you are feeling less than enthusiastic about hitting the trails.

Whether you are a novice runner or a seasoned pro, you might take off your shoes and socks following a long run and notice a dark spot on a toenail. This can be alarming, but knowing a thing or two about black toenails can ease your concern.

When noted by runners, darkened nails are typically the cause of repeated trauma as a toe hits the front of a shoe during a long run. In such a case, the darkness is either a bruised nailbed or a subungual hematoma (blood that has pooled between the nail and its bed). Besides the darkened coloration, other symptoms in the toe may include tenderness or swelling.

Darkened toenails are more common for runners who wear shoes that are too tight, so a good way to prevent the condition from developing in the first place is to choose footwear that fits correctly. Of course, this is simply good advice that will help you avoid an array of potential issues.

Not all cases of black toenails are experienced by runners, though. Sometimes the darkened coloration is the result of a fungal infection. In other cases, bruising or subungual hematoma happens from a single traumatic incident, like dropping something heavy on your foot.

While the vast majority are harmless, it is worth coming into our office to have a black toenail evaluated. There are times when the discoloration is a case of malignant melanoma, although this is rare. In such instances, it is best to identify the melanoma at the earliest stage possible for the best chance at successful treatment.

We will take a look at treatment options for darkened nails next week, but if you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment to have a black toenail evaluated, contact our Richardson, TX foot doctor’s office. Either give us a call at (972) 690-5374 or schedule your appointment with Richardson Podiatry Associates online today.