Take a look at your toenails now. Do you see a black toenail? Having a black toenail is quite common for athletes especially if they wear their shoes all the time but there are always different reasons why people acquire dark toenails. A lot of these causes though resolve on their own so it will not be a problem anymore. You need to see a doctor when the issue does not resolve on its own.
Possible Causes of Black Toenail
It is wise to know the different reasons why you have acquired b black toenail. Some of the possible reasons are the following:
- Fungal infection – A lot of people do not think that they have fungal infection when they have black toenails because they associate the infection with yellow or white fungus but if the buildup of debris has increased, the toenails may turn black. Do remember that your toes are more likely to develop fungus as compared to your fingernails because they are normally exposed to warm and moist places.
- Melanoma – This is a type of skin cancer which may appear as a brown spot with no apparent shape. While they may appear in various portions of the skin, melanoma may also appear underneath the nails. They may appear black when they are dark in color.
- Trauma – This is the most common cause of having a black toenail. When you hit your toenail on something, you can cause a blood vessel from underneath the toenail to break. It will then give the toenail its black color.
- Other medical conditions – There are some medical conditions that may cause your toenails to turn black. Some medical conditions are diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or anemia.
Do You Need to See Your Doctor?
This is not one of those symptoms that will automatically make you worry. There is a big possibility that you would not see a doctor when you have a black toenail especially if you know its cause. You only need to see your doctor when the black toenail suddenly appears and you do not know why it is there.
You may need to get a treatment for your black toenail when you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes that would make your wounds heal slower than usual. Another reason why you may need to go to the doctor for your black toenail is if it has been there for a long time and it does not seem like it is going to go away soon.
It can also be serious if more than 25% of your nail has turned black. There is a possibility that what you are experiencing is more serious than it seems. If you would not seek proper treatment for your nail, it can lead to more severe infections that may affect your bones and your feet.
Some Symptoms to Watch Out For
A lot of times, your black toenail is harmless enough but you may need to pay more attention to it if you experience the following symptoms:
Take note that there may be other symptoms that you will experience when you have a black toenail. If your toenail is caused by trauma, remember that your nail is bound to fall off after a few days to about a week on its own. Do not worry because most of a time, a new nail is already available to take its place.
Treatment Options for Black Toenail
Remember that a lot of times black toenails would not require medical treatment especially if it is just minor. The doctor will just check if there are no lacerations underneath the nail and you will be advised to allow the nail to heal on its own.
If in case you need further treatment for your toenails, here are some treatments you can choose:
- Drainage – If the doctor suspects that there is fluid accumulation underneath the nail, the fluid should be removed at the soonest possible time. The doctor will use a needle to create a small hole and allow the fluid to be drained out.
- Cautery – This would involve the use of a device that is normally battery operated in order to drill a hole on the nail and drain out the blood that is stuck in the area.
- Nail Removal – Instead of waiting for the nail to be removed on its own, the nail will be removed and cleaned.
8 Best Home Remedies for Black Toenail
If your black toenail is caused by fungus then you are in luck because there are different home remedies you can try that will be highly effective in curing your black toenail. Look for these items at home and cure your black toenail.
- Tea Tree Oil
There are different things that tea tree oil is always used for but this time, you can use it to treat your toenails that have turned black because of fungus. Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and at the same time, it is a well known fungicidal remedy.
- Clean the area of the toenail that has turned black because of fungus with alcohol.
- Apply undiluted tea tree oil on the toenail.
- Allow the toenail to be soaked in tea tree oil.
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush in order to brush the outer portion of the toenail.
- Repeat this everyday until the nail falls off and a new nail grows in its place.
If you are going to apply tea tree oil on your skin, you need to dilute the tea tree oil with another carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil so that it will not be too strong for the skin.
A lot of people are surprised whenever they learn that cornmeal can be used to treat nail fungus but corn can be effective in killing Candida which is the most common type of fungus to affect people. Make sure to choose organic cornmeal as this is known to be the most effective out of all the rest.
- Mix a cup of cornmeal with water. Make sure that you are going to place in a container wherein you can soak your feet.
- Allow the cornmeal to soaked on water for about an hour.
- Soak your feet for about an hour or more.
- You need to do this once every week. If you do it more often, it might be bad for the feet.
- Coconut Oil
Is there something that coconut oil cannot do? Coconut oil is one of people’s most trusted home remedies because it can be used for a variety of other things. Coconut oil contains caprylic acid which is known to get rid of different types of fungi by destroying the protective covering of different fungi.
- Apply coconut oil on the affected nail.
- Leave the oil there for about 15 minutes.
- You can do this several times a day.
The great thing about this remedy is that coconut oil is widely good for the body. You will not have any problems with trying to do this different times throughout the day.
- Oregano Oil
Another oil that can be effective in getting rid of black toenail caused by fungus is Oregano oil. Oregano oil has anti – fungal properties. This type of oil can be purchased or you can make your own. Growing oregano at home is not too complicated.
- Place a few drops of oregano oil on another carrier oil of your choice.
- Mix thoroughly before applying on the affected nail.
- You can do this 2 – 3 times a day in order to get the best results.
You need to mix oregano oil with another type of oil so that it can be absorbed by your toenails better. At the same time, Oregano oil may be too strong for the skin.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
What do you normally use Apple Cider Vinegar for? There are people who use ACV in order to improve their metabolism and their digestion. There are also some who use ACV for different health conditions. This time, you can use ACV to get rid of your black toenail. This can be used topically or internally. It would be up to you to decide which is more convenient for you.
If you plan to use ACV topically, do the following:
- Mix ACV with Epsom salt and place in hot water.
- Allow the water to cool down a bit before you soak your infected toenail into it.
- Soak for about 30 minutes.
- Do this twice a day to get the best results.
If you plan to take ACV internally, do the following:
- Mix ACV with warm water. Make sure that the ratio is 1:8.
- Add some honey in order to sweeten the beverage and make it easier for you to drink.
- Orange Oil
There are so many types of oil that you can apply on your nails to get rid of infection, right? This is another one of those that you can use. Orange oil contains anti – fungal properties that can help cure the infection.
- Use a dropper to apply the orange oil directly on the affected areas.
- Allow the oil to stay there for about an hour.
- If in case you have sensitive skin, you may need to mix this with another type of oil so that it will not harm your skin.
- Eucalyptus Oil
This does not only contain anti – fungal properties that can help get rid of your black toenail, it also contains anti – microbial properties so that it will be more effective in getting rid of the main cause of your black toenail.
- Prepare a cotton ball.
- Soak this in the eucalyptus oil.
- Apply the soaked cotton ball on the toenail for about 10 minutes.
- This should be done about 3 – 4 times everyday to get the best results.
Take note that even if the infection clears up and your toenail has turned back to its natural color, you may still need to continue using this oil to ensure that the fungus is totally gone.
- Take Probiotics
If you do not have probiotics in your system, this can make you more prone to acquiring some fungal infections particularly on your toenails. In order to avoid this from happening, make sure that you take enough probiotics. It is going to make a lot of difference.
- You can take probiotics in supplement form.
- You may also take it in tablet form.
- There are also some food products that are rich in probiotics that you can include in your diet.
If in case your black toenail is caused by fungus, remember that this can be highly contagious. You may infect the people that you are with. It will always help that you are aware that you are infected. The more knowledge you have about your condition, the more that you will be able to protect the people around you.
- If you sleep with someone else on the bed, wear anti – fungal socks that will keep the fungi from spreading.
- Clean the shower area thoroughly after you have bathed.
- Do not share footwear with other people.
How to Prevent Acquiring Black Toenails
It should be remembered that it is not only fungus that can cause toenails to turn black. There are other causes as well. Here are some tips that can help prevent having black toenails:
- Make sure that the shoes you wear are not ill – fitting. Wear the proper size and if you have to be in uncomfortable shoes, try to limit the number of hours that you are going to use the pair.
- Trim your toenails appropriately.
- When you are moving heavy objects, make sure that you take proper precautions so that you will not drop them.
- Keep your feet and your nails dry.
- If you suspect that you have a nail problem, seek treatment at the soonest possible time so that the issues will be addressed before they become more serious.
With all of the things that are discussed, you can possibly prevent having a black toenail. If in case you already have it, decipher the type of treatment that you are going to use to cure it.