Picture this: it's summer, and you're wearing open-toed shoes, or you take your socks off and look down to see one of your toenails has turned black. If you're noticing this discoloration, it's most likely because a bruise developed under the nail. Also known as a subungual hematoma, a black toenail can occur from something as small as stubbing your toe on the coffee table to wearing shoes too tight they cause your toes to cram into the front.
The experienced and board-certified team at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle is eager to answer all your treatment questions and suggest a toenail care routine designed to help you get those perfect, healthy nails.
Common causes of black toenails
Minor injuries to the toe, like stubbing it on the coffee table or closing a door on your foot, will typically go away when the nail grows out without needing any treatment. Black toenails are treatable, and there are ways to make sure your toenail turns healthy again.
In very extreme cases, black toenails can stem from other underlying issues such as:
- Heart disease
- Lichen planus
- Kidney problems
You’ll need medical treatment for the underlying condition if any of these diseases or conditions causes your black toenails.
Use over-the-counter products
You can treat mild toe bruising and black toenails with over-the-counter products without a prescription from a doctor. These products can include ointments, creams, and polishes.
If you use over-the-counter products for a while (per the instructions) and don’t see improvement, you may require a doctor's prescription for antifungal treatment.
In addition to over-the-counter products, there are various home remedy methods to restore healthy toenails you can try at home. Some common remedies include:
Apple cider vinegar
The acetic acid in vinegar has been known for its antifungal properties, so soak your feet in a vinegar-water mix.
Garlic's antimicrobial properties can help the toenail within a half hour. Chop the garlic and rub it on your black toenails.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an herbal medicine with antiseptic and antifungal properties, so drop some on your toenail, and watch it heal.
The thymol found in oregano has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Try applying oregano oil twice a day to reduce the black toenail.
Call the office at either the Evergreen or Wheat Ridge, Colorado locations, or schedule your appointment online for any trouble with your toenails, feet, or ankles.