Black nails

The discovery of black nails is one of the most common occurrences. It is often attributed towards injuries causing a bruise known as subungual hematoma. Injuries are the main cause but there are different factors which can lead to black nails. Black nails causes pain and discomfort. In this guide you can learn everything about black nails and how to overcome this problem effectively. 

Black Nails Symptoms

There can be various and common symptoms of black nail which we will be discussing now: 

  • The main symptom of black nails is visible discoloration. It basically appears black, red purplish or brownish. The discoloration might happen because of blood collecting underneath the nail often as a result of trauma. Furthermore, some of the symptoms are also mentioned here.
  • Black nails symptoms can be accompanied by pain especially if there is swelling or pressure under your nail.
  • With time the affected nail might separate from the nail bed. The nail might thicken and split. It can lead to changes in appearance and texture. 
  • In cases where infection occurs further symptoms might manifest like swelling, smell redness or discharge. It is also known as splinter hemorrhage, and it might indicate bleeding from the small capillaries beneath the nail.

Basics About Black Nails Causes

Injuries resulting in subungual hematoma like stabbing the toe or dripping on an object on it are the leading causes of black toenails. The type of injury leads to bleeding with the collected blood darkening under your nail.

  • Fungal organisms known as dermatophytes can cause nail infections from cuts or cracks near your nail providing an entry for the infection and sweaty feet can also create a favorable environment. If you have diabetes, vascular disease or even a weak immune system you are more susceptible to black nail fungus. 
  • When the toenail grows in the surrounding skin it can lead to bacterial infection causing discoloration of the nail.

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Some of the Best Black Nail Treatment

Once you understand black nails’ reason you can also check out the potential treatment options available. If they are not causing major pain and less than half of the nail is affected, then you should just observe it. The discoloration is likely to resolve as the nail grows out over time

  • For home based black nails treatment like applying a cool compress can help you get rid of swelling and pressure.
  • If the discoloration covers more than half of your nail or if the injury is severe then healthcare experts might recommend draining the blood to relieve pressure. The procedure should be performed within two to two days of the injury.
  • In cases of extensive discoloration nail separation or severe injuries your doctor might recommend removing the nail completely. The procedure will be performed under local anesthesia
  • If black toenails are caused due to fungal infections then treatments are available for both topical and oral antifungal. Over the counter prescription treatments are available and oral medications are also prescribed. The treatment duration can extend over months or even more than a year.
  • Bacterial or yeast infections might require antibiotic ointments or oral medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • In cases of subungual Melanoma surgical removal of the growth is the primary treatment. If cancer has spread the doctors will discuss appropriate treatments for you.

Preventive Measures for Black Nails

Preventing blackmails include adopting good nail care. You need to wear well fitted shoes that do not rub or compress your toes reducing the risk of trauma furthermore you need to keep your toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown nails which can lead to bacterial infections and discoloration.

It is vital for you to maintain good foot hygiene by washing your feet regularly, drying them thoroughly and wearing clean socks to minimize fungal infection risk.

 If you engage in activities that pose a risk to your toe injuries like sports or heavy lifting always consider wearing protective footwear or toe caps.

Lastly you must visit your doctor regularly for foot examination especially if you have any diabetes or vascular conditions.

Complications and Risk Factors

Some factors might increase the risk of developing black nails and even some complications.

  • Shoes that rub or compress the toe can contribute towards the development of black nails.
  • Frequent trauma to your toe especially if you have conditions impacting circulation, for example diabetes or kidney risk increases the risk.
  • The complications might include permanent damage to the nail leading to misshapen or thickened growth. In case of Melanoma, the cancer might spread even above the nail.

Diagnostic Tests And When to Seek Medical Attention?

Your doctors can diagnose the cause of black nails by examining them and considering different factors like recent injuries, activities and footwear choices.

The diagnostic tests like analyzing the nail clippings for fungal infections are conducted if important. 


Black nails are often a result of trauma or injuries with the discoloration resolving as the nail grows out. But you must know that the other causes like fungal infections, ingrown toenails medicines and rarely Melanoma also led to black nails with different degrees of severity. You need to seek medical attention in time. If you see any black nails symptoms, connect with a doctor and start a prevention process. 

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Q1. What causes your nail to turn black?

Ans:Black toenails can result from a trauma of fungal infection or pigmentation changes with time. More serious causes include heart disease or Melanoma.

Q2. Is black nails permanent?

Ans: You need to know that black nails will typically go away on their own, but it can take several months. The condition will diminish once new tissue grows completely under the toenail itself.

Q3. How can you get rid of black nail fungus?

Ans:You can get rid of black nail fungus with some home treatment also as you can apply tea tree oil, oregano oil or garlic.

Q4. How long can black nails last?

Ans:Unless the area of your bleeding is very small and unaffected, the nail will usually fall off on its own after few weeks because the pooled blood has separated it from its bed.
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Holding over 5 years of experience, she has been working as a Senior Medical Content Writer, Being a dentist by profession, she has been pursuing her passion for writing since the year 2017. Beginning as a freelancer, she has a come a long way and aims to work consciously in making the audience not just read but engaged and captivated. Research works oriented with inquisitiveness play a crucial role in letting the works have an impact.