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Posts for category: Fungal Infection

By Dr. Michael Stein- Foot Doctor of the East Bay
September 25, 2018
Category: Fungal Infection
Tags: Black Toenail   Toe Fungus  

Find out what issues can cause a toenail to turn black.

Black ToenailAs you well know, a healthy toenail is usually clear; however, if you notice discolorations in one or more toenails it could just be trying to tell you that something is wrong. Of course, suddenly looking down and seeing a black toenail certainly could cause concern. Don’t worry, our San Leandro, CA, podiatrists Dr. Michael Stein and Dr. Zeineldin Ahmad are here to explain some of the reasons this might be happening.

What can cause a black toenail?

Here are some of the most common reasons you might be dealing with a black toenail:

Trauma: This is usually the most obvious reason a toenail turns black. Maybe you stubbed your toe really hard or the toenail sustained some trauma while playing sports. When this happens this can cause broken blood vessels under the nail bed, and it’s the blood itself that causes the nail to take on its black appearance.

A medical disorder: There are also some medical problems that can affect the health of your toenails. Some of these conditions include heart disease, diabetes, anemia and kidney disease. If you’re noticing other symptoms such as tingling extremities, changes in heart rhythm or fatigue along with a black toenail then it might be time to call your doctor.

A fungal infection: While most toenail fungal infections cause the nail to turn yellow, if the toenail is left untreated this can lead to enough buildup that it can cause the nail to turn black. Fungal infections are very common foot problems that our San Leandro, CA, foot specialist can help you treat if over-the-counter antifungal medications aren’t working.

Should I see my doctor?

If you've suffered an injury to your foot, this should warrant a trip to the doctor’s office. Of course, if you know what’s causing your toenail then you can better assess whether it’s something that can be treated from the comfort of your own home or whether a medical professional needs to take a look. If you suspect that your black toenail may be the result of a health problem then it’s important that you call your doctor right away. If you have diabetes or a compromised immune system then you will want to see a doctor for treatment.

A foot doctor can help you figure out why your toenail is black. If your toenail has been black for a while and doesn’t go away then it’s a good idea to call Foot Doctor of the East Bay in San Leandro, CA, to schedule an appointment with us.

Prevention Tips for Toenail FungusIf you live here in the Bay Area, you’re no doubt accustomed to fog billowing in from the ocean. From a high enough vantage point, the low-hanging cloud cover can be strikingly beautiful (especially over the Golden Gate Bridge), though motorists and boaters might be less inclined to appreciate the diminished visibility.

Your nails can get cloudy, too. This is often caused by a fungal infection that can leave your nails yellow, crumbly, brittle, thickened, deformed, and even foul-smelling. Once the fungus sets in, it’s very difficult to eradicate. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent nail fungus before it even begins.

While San Francisco fog rolls in from cool, ocean waters, toenail fungus often rolls in from the warm, damp waters of a pool deck or locker room floor—the fungi love moist, humid environments. Other risk factors include wearing poorly ventilated shoes and socks, having a pre-existing foot condition like athlete’s foot, or a condition that weakens circulation or immunity, such as diabetes. It’s also more common among older adults—quite simply, they’ve had more opportunity for exposure.

The most important way to prevent nail fungus from blanketing your toes like fog, is to exercise good foot hygiene. Wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly before you put on any footwear. Trim your toenails carefully—never too short, and always straight across. This prevents ingrown toenails that can cut the skin and open “golden” gateways for infection to set in.

Wear well-ventilated socks and shoes, too, and change both regularly—cycling between shoes gives pairs a chance to dry. Never go barefoot in public places either—you should always wear sandals or shoes outside and in damp environments like locker rooms.

Toenail fungus is unsightly, stubborn, and can easily spread or get worse. Although laser treatment has proven successful for most patients, the best policy (as always) is prevention. That said, if you do notice any changes in your nails, give Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM of Foot Doctor of the East Bay a call. We provide the latest in high-tech, high-quality care for this relentless infection. Contact us through the website, call us at the main office at (510) 483-3390, or stop by one of our three convenient Bay Area locations: Pleasanton, San Leandro, or Los Gatos, CA.

Photo Credit: Hans via Pixabay.com



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