It’s the time of year for witches and goblins and scary creatures. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, however, we know that one thing you don’t want to see are toenails that look like they belong in a horror movie! Sometimes the symptoms can appear rather frightening, but usually there’s a simple explanation and effective treatment available.
Black Toenails—An obvious cause of this condition is if you have recently dropped something heavy on your toe or stubbed it. This could result in bleeding under the nail which would show as a black or dark purplish discoloration under the toe. If you have not experienced a recent trauma to your foot and you notice that the second or third toenail is black, you may have what is commonly called “runner’s toe.” If you run and your shoes are too big or too small, you can be jamming your toe up against the front of the shoe and this would cause the bruised appearance. For this reason, it’s always wise to get your feet measured professionally at a store that specializes in sports footwear.
In rare cases, black toenails could be the sign of a malignant melanoma or a systemic health problem. It’s essential if you have a black toenail—even if it is not painful--that you have one our foot and ankle surgeons Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko evaluate it promptly.
Thick and Crumbly Toenails—Toenails that appear thickened, are crumbling or peeling at the edges, and have turned a yellowish or brownish color are most likely harboring a fungal infection. Fungal infections are highly contagious. They are spread by direct contact and can easily be picked up at the gym, community pool or nail salon. A fungal infection can also spread from one part of your body to another. Fungal toenails often develop from athlete’s foot.
An Unusual Bend—If you notice that one of your toenails is beginning to favor an unusual position and taking on the appearance of a hammer or claw, it can signal a deformity that is progressing to a noticeable stage. It’s critical to have hammertoes, claw toes, bunions and other deformities diagnosed in their early stages to ensure the best treatment and least amount of disability.