I doubt Reese Witherspoon had her toenails fall off during the filming of Wild the movie, but Cheryl Strayed’s (the woman Reese Witherspoon portrayed) black toenails did come off in real life!
What Causes Black Toenails?
One cause of black toenails is: Bruising under the nail
When Cheryl was hiking her boots were too tight. The rubbing from the boots caused blood blisters to form under her toenails causing black toenails. This is known as a subungual hematoma. This can be caused by repeated trauma: One example would be a runner whose sneakers are too tight or too short. The jamming of the toes into the sneakers causes the blood blisters underneath the nail. Another example of bruising under the nail would be if you had something fall on your toe causing a blood blister under the nail. With these types of injury you could just have your nail loosen or turn dark and fall off with without any pain.
When Do I Need To See The Doctor?
- When you have blood pooling under the nail that leads to pain (unbroken blood blister under your nail)
- If you smell a foul odor or see drainage coming out of your toe (this should be taken care of right away)
- If your toe is swollen and black and blue not just your nail (this could be a fracture)
Other causes of black toenails:
- A fungal infection A fungal infection can cause a nail to turn black. Just like the black mold that you see in your bathroom a fungus can grow on your toenails and make them turn black.
- Cancer of the nail bed can cause a nail to turn black. Melanoma under the toenail looks like a fungal toenail but is deadly and needs to be checked.Although this isn’t the most common of the three it is the most serious.
When should I call the doctor for black toenails?
- If you see a streak or spot on the nail that is not skin color
- If you see a streak spots under the nail, where there was no injury before, with direct bleeding or oozing of fluid
- If you see a dark spot that seems to be growing in size
- If you see a dark spot on the nail that has not healed in over 2 months
No matter what the reason is for a discolored black toenail we are here to help. Dr. Schlam will access the nail and clearly explain the type of treatment plan that is tailored to you. To schedule an appointment you can click here or call us at (845) 298-9074. By David Schlam