We tend to ignore small injuries to our body. But often these small injuries or health problems can lead to severe conditions in the long run. One such condition is blackened toenail. Most people face this problem of blackened toenails or at least have faced it at some point in their life.
However, very few people know the real reason behind it and the health hazards that it poses. The biggest threat associated with black toenails is black toenail fungus which can be really painful and can mutilate the nails permanently leaving an ugly sight for you. Keep reading to find out black toenail reasons and remedies.
Why is my black toenail thick and hurt?
Now there can be many reasons behind a blackened toenail with the most common reason being injury or trauma to the toenail. Injury to toenail is quite common when the toenails are big and it slams against the insides of the show or at some other obstacle. That is why it is recommended to keep one’s nails short and trimmed.
Toenail injuries are also common among athletes where the feet are constantly in high-intensity action. Apart from injuries, there can be other reasons behind a black toenail which can be more serious and requires immediate treatment. So how do you identify whether your blackened toe nail is due to trauma or some other grave reason like black toenail fungus? For that, you need to understand the two different types of black toenail situation: malign and benign. Let’s take a look at some of the benign reasons behind a blackened toe and their remedy.
Mild Trauma- black toenail which do not hurt
If you wake up in the morning and find your toenail has blackened, remember whether you have done any running or hard exercise the day before. Often these actions are responsible for trauma to the toenail and results in its black color. ill fitting footwear can also be a reason behind black toenails.
However these are not painful and don’t require any special treatment. You need not visit a doctor or be worried; blackened toenail due to trauma gets cured by itself. The dark nail grows out and with periodic trimming; you will soon get back your normal colored toenail over a period of few months.
New nails grow and replace the black toe nail. Sometimes the growth of the new nail can be hindered by the presence of the black nail and the new nail tries to grow underneath it. The best way to deal with it is to clip the upper black nail and allow the new nail to grow properly. Make sure you get your nail clipped from a doctor, but you can also do it yourself at home if you feel confident that you would not inflict more damage.
Severe trauma- black toenail which hurts
Black toenails caused by severe trauma on your nail can be really painful. It leads to the formation of blisters in between the nail and nail bed. These blisters are extremely painful and often results in the nail detaching from the bed. If the detachment is partial, it can be even more painful.
The best thing is to get rid of the bad nail as it is the source of the pains. Once you get rid of the blackened nail, you will not experience any more pain and the blisters can be treated effectively. But keep in mind, for new nail to grow and take its place, it will take quite a long time, especially if it is the toenail of your thumb finger.
Visit a doctor and get the injured toenail removed cleanly and completely as any part left behind can cause problems for the newly growing nail. Also ensure that the new nail is well protected and is not bruised or damaged during its growing phase. You can ensure that by wearing protective and comfortable shoes.
It is another benign case of black toenail and is generally caused when any heavy object falls on your toenail. When any heavy object falls, it causes damage to the underlying blood vessels causing it to split. This results in blood oozing out and settling between your nail and nail bed. It is this pool of blood underneath your nail that gives it a black coloration. Often such conditions are associated with a throbbing pain.
The best remedy is to release the blood pool from underneath your nail. This is done by pricking a small hole with a sharp needle which allows the blood to ooze out returning your normal toe color. Even though it sounds very easy, it shouldn’t be done at home. Use of nonsterile needles can lead to infection and also the procedure itself can be quite painful if performed by amateurs.
The above-discussed situations are benign and often do not require the victim to seek medical attention. But if the blackened toenail area is seen to have suffered inflammation along with pus formation, then you should visit a doctor immediately as these are signs of infection which if left untreated can spread to the whole leg. Now let’s take a look at the malignant blackened toenail conditions, which require immediate medical attention.
Black toenail fungus
Probably the worst possible toenail condition as it not only makes your nails look ugly but also gives off foul odor associated with stinging pain. Unfortunately, it is quite a common disease as the fungus known as dermatophytes responsible for this situation lives in the nail bed and thus can infect your nails and cause black coloration whenever it receives favorable conditions. This group of fungi thrives in moist and warm conditions. From this we can easily deduce some of the most common reasons behind black toenail fungus:
- If your feet are confined for long hours within footwear which doesn’t allow proper breathing for your feet, you can acquire this infection. Lack of air passage results in sweaty feet which in turn provides the favorable moist and warm condition for the fungus to thrive and grow. This is why, the most common victim of this infection are athletes and joggers and marathon runners. So next time you decide to stay outdoors for a lengthy period of time, make sure that you open your shoes and allow your feet to breathe.
- Going to swimming in public baths which are often crowded resulting in humid situations also provide favorable circumstances for the fungi to grow and infect your toenails. Frequently visiting places like the locker room where the floors are always wet can also pave the way for this fungal infection to grow. Thus it is always advised to wear footwear to locker rooms to keep your feet dry.
- As this infection is highly contagious, it can also be acquired from infected public places like toilets and baths. So make sure the next time you visit a public toilet, your feet is fully covered.
- Another possible reason for this infection to take place is through unattended toe nail injury. Toe nail injury makes your nail weak and paves a way for the infection to infect your toe area.
Toenail fungus do not pose any grave danger if they are treated properly on time. But if left neglected, it can spread and pose serious health hazards. Hence, whenever you feel you are suffering from black toenail infection, make sure you visit your nearest clinic and get it treated immediately. Some of the symptoms to identify toenail fungus are:
- If your toenail turns blue, black, yellow or brown without having suffered any injury then it can be signs of fungal infection.
- A foul odor is generally associated along with fungal toenail infection. This odor can be really embarrassing and hence should be treated with immediate effect.
- A stinging pain is generally associated with this fungal infection.
Black toenail cancer or melanoma
Black toenail cancer or melanoma is one of the worst cases of cancer. The cancer generally grows from underneath the nail bed, giving the nail a black coloration. It is also non painful but the difference with black toe nail suffered from trauma and black toenail due to skin cancer is that in case of cancer, the black color extends from the toe nail to the skin around the toenail. Whenever you find the area around your toenail like the cuticle turning blue black, visit a doctor immediately and get it immediately checked.
There are different ways of treating black toenail. If the reason behind your black toenail is skin cancer, then no effective treatment will be able to deal with it and you will have to undergo operation. Other benign causes like toenail injury is treated by removing the injured nail altogether for fast recovery. Even though black toenail poses no serious immediate health hazard, if they are left untreated they can pave the way in for fungal infections. That is why whenever you suffer from black toenail fungus you should see a doctor immediately. He or she can provide the following advice:
- If the situation is not serious the doctor will advise you to let your blackened nail be replaced naturally over a period of time.
- If there are chances of infection, then the doctor will remove your blackened nail and inspect the nail bed for any form of infection.
- If there is blood pool underneath your nail, then the doctor might drill a hole in your nail with the help of a sterile needle and allow the blood to flow out.
- If fungal infection has infected your toenail, then the doctor will provide medications for its treatment.
The problem with black toenail fungus infection is that there are not as such effective medications to deal with it. There are many effective home remedies which use natural products to fight off the fungus and restore normal coloration of your toenail. Also using homemade remedies eliminates chances of any side effects and can also help deal with the foul smell associated with this fungus infection.
There are lots of home remedies which are available which you can effectively use at home. Some of the most popular and effective ones are discussed below. Keep in mind that if you feel discomfort using any home remedies, you should discontinue it immediately. Also, it is advisable to seek a doctor’s advice before starting any home remedy procedure.
Black toenail fungus home remedies
You will be surprised to know that the treatment of black toenail fungus, home remedies have shown to be more effective than over the counter drugs. There are a quite a lot of kitchen and everyday use products which can be used creatively in the treatment of toenail fungus. Here we will discuss only the most effective and popular ones:
Use of apple cider vinegar is a very popular home remedy for curing black toenail. It can be easily prepared and a solution of it with water can help you eliminate toenail fungus if you soak your feet regularly in it.
Tea tree oil
Known popularly for its anti-fungal properties, it is another very effective treatment which you can apply in your daily life. Purely herbal, this natural treatment is very effective in killing fungus and thus it is popularly used in treating various kinds of fungal infections.
Antiseptic mouth wash
yes, even antiseptic mouth wash can help you get rid of this irritating and embarrassing infection. Get hold of an antiseptic mouth wash like Listerine, prepare a solution with water and apply with cotton on the infected area to get instant relief from the irritations caused by this disease.
organic oils like coconut oil and olive oil is also very effective in curing black toenail problem. Prepare a solution of it with tincture of iodine and apply it on the affected area.
All of the above methods are effective in curing black toenail fungus infection. You need to be patient as these home remedies take some time to cure it completely.