What is a Black Toenail?

A Black toenail is the name for the foot condition between the toenail and toenail bed.

It is actually showing you what is going on underneath the toenail.

The tiny blood vessels in the nail bed underneath the toenail have suffered some trauma.

The trauma has caused one, or more of these blood vessels to break or burst.

This allows the blood to escape and flood the area of the nail bed (the black area of the toenail).

Like any small cut that bleeds, these blood vessels after a short period of time will stop bleeding as the wound heals itself.

Bruised or black toenail

However, under the toenail, the blood is trapped in the nail bed and the toenail will look black or blue until this part of the toenail has grown out.

What causes a Black Toenail

It is not uncommon to have a toenail that has turned black and not know how it has happened.

Damage to the toenail can come from hitting the toe against something hard, dropping a heavy weight onto the top of the toenail, or, as athletes will know, by the sheer pressure exerted on the toe and toenail from running, sprinting or jumping and landing.

Other sports like Football, Soccer, Hockey, Basketball can all be damaging to the toenails and result in bruised or black toenails without the bearer knowing when it actually happened.

Other cases can be from working in heavy industry without the protection of Safety Shoes. (That is shoes having a steel toecap to cover and protect the toes inside).

What will happen to the Black Toenail

Generally the nail bed is damaged so much that the toenail will eventually fall off.

It must be noted that each and every case of toenail trauma is different and the toenail does not always come off.

Therefore it is always wise to see a

Chiropodist or a footcare professional to correctly diagnose the problem.

A Chiropodist will make sure the toenail and the damage is correctly taken care of.

During this period of a black nail, the nail will probably slowly come loose from the nail bed and drop off.

It may be wise to loosly tape it down on the toe so that further damage to the toe may be avoided.

What happens next

Next it is best to pay another visit to the Chiropodist who will ensure that the new nail will grow back unrestricted and without any fungal infection or any other problems.

The new nail will grow back slowly, it will take around 9 months to one year for a toenail to grow back fully.

Toenails take slightly longer than finger nails to grow.

For the toenails and finger nails to grow healthy check out healthy toenails Once the nail has grown back fully, keep it cut or trimmed correctly, read how to correctly perform your own pedicure The toenail is there to protect the toe, so when cutting the nail never cut it too short, it should 'just' cover the edge or the top of the toe.

Always cut the toenail straight across, cutting it down the sides will almost certainly result in an ingrown toenail


If your work is manual or industrial wear safety shoes with a protective steel toe cap and protective soles.

If you do a lot of sports activities then use the best sports shoes available from a reputable sports shoes manufacturer who has designed the shoes with a foot specialist advice.

If you do a lot of outdoor walking, wear hiking shoes that allow movement of the toes and protect the nails and feet and support the ankles.

In other words, protect your feet with the correct healthy footwear

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