Black nails can be annoying, unsightly, and can even indicate serious health problems. Find out the possible reasons why your nails are dark.
“There are many reasons for black nails. The most common is trauma, caused in general, by wearing tight shoes, “said Dr. Sean Ravaei, a Beverly Hills foot surgeon.
The medical term
The “subungual hematoma” occurs when pressure on the toe nail causes small veins to burst beneath it. The blood rises up under the nail, then dies and becomes black.
What to do
Whether it was because something fell on your foot or you wore tight shoes, you must wait for the new nail to grow and push the black nail out.
This is what it is called when the second or third toenail is black. Maybe your tennis shoes are too large or too tight, and you have had them on for too long, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).
If they are very large
If the tennis shoe is too large, when you run the foot slides and the nail can get trapped between the front cover and the tip of the shoe.
If they are very tight
Then, the nail may become pinched and pressed, resulting in internal bleeding.
This is the second most common cause for black toe nails, says Dr. Ravaei. Sometimes a fungal infection causes discoloration of the nails, and that discoloration may be black.
If it is an infection, treatment should start quickly, since once the discoloration is on the “pad” of the nail, it would be more difficult to remove, Ravaei told us.
If you have an infection
There would be a variety of medicines you could use to eliminate the dark color, and a laser treatment could also be used to remove discoloration.
Black spots or lines
This could also be caused by psoriasis or melanoma (a type of skin cancer), chronic infections or chemotherapy, said pediatrician Jennifer Shu at the CNN sign site.
Lentiginous acral melanoma
Although rare, it can occur under the fingernails or toenails, and would be more common in people with darker skin pigment, says the Mayo Clinic.
Chronic incarnated nails
Ingrown toenails can irritate the skin, creating pain, redness, swelling and heat in the foot, and even, darkening of the nail.
Your nails may turn yellow, brown or black. You may have small red or white spots underneath the nail, and a chalk-like material may be formed to detach the nail, says the WebMD website.
How to take care of them
Keep your nails very short, soften the edges with a file, wear gloves when cleaning or doing any other work on your feet, moisturize your nails and cuticles every day, and wear comfortable shoes.