Black toe nails are usually dark due to bruising or dry blood beneath the nail. This can happen from a direct injury to the nail. It can also cause by rubbing or small repetitive abrasion to the nail from shoes or the ground. It is not uncommon for the nail to become loose or develop a fungal infection. Those with diabetes, neuropathy, or circulation problems should be evaluated.
Bone spurs (subungual exostosis) under the nail can cause the nail to have a peaked or folded appearance. This can lead to ingrown nails or pain. The nail can also rub in the shoe leading to redness, swelling and pain. X-ray can help diagnose this problem. Surgery is rarely required. Other small tumors have been of the bone in this area are possible.
Ingrown nails are a painful condition in which the corners or sides of the nail dig into the skin. This can cause infection, drainage, redness, welling, and warmth. This can be caused by pressure from foot wear, trauma, fungal infection, and is common in families. Often this can be temporarily treated with soaks in Epsom salts and trimming the corners of the nail. The long-term solution for this condition is to remove a small portion of the nail edge and kill root (matrix) of that corner. This will keep the overall appearance of the nail but remove the parts digging into the skin. In some cases, antibiotics are required. If you believe that your toe may be infected please contact the office promptly.
Nail fungus or (onychomycosis) is a condition in which fungus from the skin enters the nail and causes the layers of the nail to separate. This gives the nail a thick, yellow, crumbly appearance. This is not usually dangerous like bacterial infections but can cause pain, chafing, and difficulty trimming the nail. Treatment is usually difficult and time consuming. There are several different options to choose from and it best to discuss the risks and benefits of each of these with a podiatrist. For those with problems such as diabetes, neuropathy, or circulation issues, many insurances will provide coverage for a podiatrist to debride (trim) the nails every 9–12 weeks.