Black toenail is not a disease, it is a symptom or a consequence of diseases or nail traumas. The most common cause of black spots on toenails or nail going completely black is getting the nail plate severely injured. Then a black spot is just a blood accumulated under the nail plate and seen through it. If you know that you had toe injury recently, then this black spot or black nail does not need additional treatment or care. Just watch your nail and the spot or overall nail black color will soon vanish. But what if bothersome symptoms occur?
What symptoms of black toenail point to immediate seeing a doctor?
Black spots on toenails or nail plate going completely black can be a symptom of other diseases as toenail fungi or melanoma.
If you have nail fungi you will also notice:
- nail plate distortion;
- nail thickening and crumbliness.
Melanoma will present next symptoms:
- irregular shape and increasing in size with time(unlike other black spots which seize with time);
- uneven pigmentation (commonly black spots after injuries are of even color with possible lighter shades closer to the edges while melanoma may present spots of different shades of black and brown colors).
If a black spot or black nail is a result of injury then a patient feels bearable pain, commonly getting sharper when a nail is pressed with fingers or tight shoes.
Key symptoms of black toenail saying that something goes wrong:
- pain getting sharper day by day;
- black color spreading on nail plate;
- foul smell;
- inflammation and redness;
- discharge under the nail plate.
These symptoms points to the deeper and more severe damages of nail and skin tissues. In this case you need to see a doctor.
How to treat black toenail?
Black toenails occur after traumas in most cases. Even a slight impact, which you can not even notice, can cause a spot on your nail. If you are sure that the black nail is a result of trauma, then you do not need additional treatments.
How to treat black nail after trauma?
All your treatment is careful watching of how the black spot on the nail is changing. If a black spot is a result of trauma, then it will move towards the tip of the nail as the damaged nail grows. It will not vanish or get smaller, but it can become lighter in shade.
In some cases a nail causes pain. To relieve pain and prevent inflammation and possible complications you can use a simple home method. Add backing soda and salt in hand hot water and soak your feet for at least 30 minutes. Repeat the procedure every evening before bed while the pain is present.
Do not try to polish and clean off a nail layer to polish the spot. If the nail was damaged additional polishing may severely harm the nail and underlying tissues. Besides, you will provide additional entrance port to bacteria and fungi which can complicate a simple trauma like a bruise.
Do not apply nail polish to cover the nail and hide the black color as nail polish does not allow a nail to breathe. Lack of air may lead to complications. In most cases it will just take a longer time to recover, however there are cases when complications grow harder.
Black toenails take long time to recover. You will need to wait while the damaged nail plate will grow and you will cut it gradually. Another important symptom to pay your attention to is a new growing nail. If it is black, then the it is not a result of trauma and is a symptom of a more severe disease.
What are clinical treatments for black nails?
Mind that any bothersome symptom must lead you to a doctor. Do not neglect any condition as in the worst case you will lose not only the nail but you can lose your toenail or even feet amputated. Nobody wants to lose a foot because of black toenails.
What treatments will you get at a clinic?
Common complications of black nail are hematoma which causes pressure on nearby tissues. To relieve the symptoms the hematoma should be drained.
You doctor will advise you the next procedures:
Removal — a damaged nail plate will be removed and the nail bed can be examined. Removal of black nails is a type of radical treatment.
Needling — needle is used to make a small hole in the nail plate in the hematoma area for a fluid to drain. Only professional podiatrists can do a procedure.
Cautery — a procedure done with a battery operated tool that makes a hole in a nail plate to drain the blood accumulated under the nail. It is a more effective way of treatment than needling.