What are the symptoms of toe turning black? How do I know if my toes are turning black? And what causes them? Read on to find out more about this common foot problem.
KAMPALA | NOW THEN DIGITAL — Why are your toes turning black? A few possible causes are fungal infection, trauma, or malignant subungual melanoma. Thankfully, these conditions are generally harmless and can be treated easily with standard medical care.
- Toe turning black is a condition that affects the skin around the big toe area. It’s caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells in the area.
- The condition usually occurs when people wear shoes for long periods of time without changing socks.
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Read on for more information. Also, find out what treatment works best for the most common causes of black toes.
Also, find out how to recognize if your condition is related to a fungal infection.
If you’ve noticed your toenail turning black, you may be wondering how to treat it. While you can choose to see a doctor if the discoloration is too extensive, a black toenail is not always a cause for concern.
In some cases, a fungal infection can be the result of trauma or a more serious medical condition. For example, a nail that is black due to a fungal infection could be caused by a medical condition, such as diabetes.
Some of the common home treatments for toenail fungus include soaking the toenail in cold water and applying antifungal ointment. You may also want to file the nail to prevent it from further tearing.
A doctor may also recommend a laser treatment, which involves no cutting at all. Despite its success, a black toenail caused by a fungal infection may not go away for months or even years, depending on its severity.
While many cases of toenail fungus are treatable at home, you should be treated by a professional if the condition is more severe.
In some severe cases, the infection can spread to your toenails, causing them to become discolored and crumbly.
In either case, you should consult with a foot doctor for further diagnosis. You may experience other symptoms as well, including leg swelling, breathing difficulties, and hair loss.
Over-the-counter treatments for toenail fungus include antifungal creams. However, this can be very ineffective and may require a medical visit.
If your toenails are very thick, you may need to file them down so the drug can penetrate them. This treatment may not be effective unless you visit a doctor. This may require a visit to a dermatologist.
You should see a doctor if you notice any signs of toenail fungus. If the fungus is not treatable, it could spread to other parts of your body.
A severe case of the disease can even lead to permanent damage to your toenails. Diabetes decreases the blood supply to your feet and increases the risk of bacterial skin infection.
Even minor injuries can lead to complications if left untreated. Make sure to wash your feet regularly and consult a doctor if you notice an unusual discoloration of your toenail.
Malignant subungual melanoma
If you’re looking for reasons why your toes are turning black, you might be suffering from malignant subungual melanoma.
While there’s no single cause for this condition, it is commonly associated with trauma to the hands or feet.
To avoid the occurrence of this disease, protect your hands and feet whenever possible by wearing durable shoes and protective gear.
Detection and treatment of this rare condition is crucial, and the basic steps are excision of the lesion and the taking of a nail biopsy. For invasive melanoma of the toes, digit-sparing amputation may be recommended.
If the lesion extends to lymph nodes, it must be dissected and examined using imaging. Biopsies are performed on lesions between 1 mm and 4 mm in thickness. Biopsies on thicker lesions may require further diagnostic testing, including CT-PET imaging and brain MRI.
Treatment of malignant subungual melanoma involves surgically removing the affected toenail. Sometimes, the entire toenail is removed, or it may spread to the first joint nearest the toe.
Anti-cancer medications may be given systemically or directly to the tumor. In some cases, radiation is used to kill the cancerous cells or reduce pain associated with cancer metastasis.
Black toenail cancer can be treated with proper care and can be cured if detected early. Treatment should include the removal of any fungus that may have impacted the toenail.
If left untreated, black toenail cancer can progress to stage IV and spread to other parts of the body. Once it has spread to the foot and limbs, it may reach the delicate organs.
While melanoma is a potentially treatable form of cancer, it can be difficult to recognize in the early stages.
Although guidelines have been developed to help health care providers recognize malignant melanoma in the skin, the foot is notoriously difficult to diagnose.
Early-stage melanomas often develop in the nail matrix or within the nail unit, which make it difficult to distinguish from other types of cancer.
There are several causes for the trauma of toes turning black. A blunt-force injury or trauma to the toenail plate can cause the nail to turn black and the blood to pool in the area.
In severe cases, the blood may flow out of the nail and into the surrounding skin. A fungal infection is another cause for the blackness of a toenail.
Fungal infections are spread by fungi and thrive in moist, warm environments, making the nail bed a prime candidate for the infection.
A fungal infection will turn a toenail black and may even cause the nail to fall off completely. Depending on the type of fungal infection, the area may also bleed from under the toenail and carry a foul odor.
Physical trauma may occur due to stubbing the toe, dropping something heavy on the foot, or wearing ill-fitting shoes.
Runners are more likely to suffer from trauma of this nature, and repeated trauma will only lead to further damage.
People with trauma of toes turning black may be wearing ill-fitting shoes or running shoes. These shoes may also be made of plastic, which causes discoloration.
In some cases, black toenails are caused by melanoma, a type of skin cancer. It makes up just 3% of all melanomas. If you are experiencing this problem, consult a dermatologist to rule out a serious condition.
Your doctor will help you determine the cause of your trauma and give you the best treatment options. If you haven’t had any of these treatments, you may want to consider other causes of the black toenails.
Depending on the severity of the problem, it may take several months before the black toenail will disappear. If left untreated, black toenails can cause other issues.
Fortunately, most cases can be remedied. It’s important to get a checkup to make sure there’s nothing more serious than an unsightly black toenail.
If the problem is caused by trauma or a fungal infection, your doctor should be able to determine what the cause is.
Treatment for onychomycosis may involve medical treatment, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications.
Certain lifestyle factors can increase the risk for toenail fungus, so a patient’s doctor may recommend a course of treatment.
Luckily, there are many over-the-counter antifungal medications that can help treat the symptoms. If your toes have turned black, you can start by following a few basic steps.
Ciclopirox, an antifungal nail lacquer, can be applied to your toes. This cream may help if the fungus has not yet penetrated the cuticle. However, it must be applied for a year in order to be effective.
Additionally, patients with severe toenails should take an antifungal pill. In addition to topical medications, patients can try oral medication.
While treating a black toenail can be done at home, it is important to remember to keep sterile conditions during the treatment process.
Aside from the fact that it is unsanitary, it can also spread the infection. If the black toenail is a sign of a serious ailment, a visit to the doctor is necessary.
A doctor can prescribe an oral antifungal medicine to help cure the infection. However, patients should be aware of potential side effects, such as jaundice and skin problems, and should only take these medications under medical supervision.
Oral antifungal medications are more effective than topical treatments for toenail fungus, but they are not as fast-acting as topical medications. An oral antifungal medication can cure the infection in as little as two to three months.
Although oral antifungal medications are faster acting, they may come with side effects. Consequently, patients should visit their doctor frequently and report any other health issues or medications that they may be taking.
Some people will experience mild symptoms, such as itchiness and pain, while others will experience a more severe infection.
In mild cases, topical antifungal medications can help clear up the symptoms, and in most cases, will clear up on its own.
In the more severe cases, however, the patient may need to remove the entire toenail. A doctor may recommend this in addition to antifungal medications for toes turning black.