With sandal season coming, it is a good time to prepare your feet and toenails for the world to see. If you notice a black spot on toenail, do not worry, as it is probably a result of a minor condition that can be quickly cleared up. Once you know how the spot developed, you can take measures to prevent a future black spot under toenail from appearing.
Black Spot on Toenail: A Closer Look
That unsightly black spot can be a small or large dot that appears on the nail bed of the toe or under the toenail. It could be a black toenail fungus or a collection of dried blood from a recent injury to the toe. The latter may be the result if the area is tender to the touch or causes pain. A fungus condition will see the black spot grow bigger in size.
Let’s learn about the causing factors of these black spots to see if it warrants a visit to the doctor’s office.
Black Spot on Toenail Causes
There are several factors at play behind the black spot under toenail causes. They vary from mild to serious conditions and may require little to no treatment.
As soon as you notice the black spot, try to think of a time you may have injured the toe or caused trauma to the foot. An injury can be from an accident, stubbing the toe on a piece of furniture, or as a result of dropping an object on your foot.
Most toenail injuries require no medical assistance, and an ice compress can be used for any swelling. The black spot will disappear as the nail grows.
2. Runner’s Toe
We all have those shoes or sneakers we love but may fit too tightly for everyday wear. If you choose to wear snug fitting footwear for activities such as running, a black spot may appear on the nail. It is caused by the compression of the foot and nails.
The obvious treatment is to ensure you wear proper fitting footwear and allow the black spot to disappear on its own.
3. Bacterial Infection
An opening in the skin from a cut or a wound is an invitation for bacteria to set in and cause an infection between the plate and bed of the toenail. The black spots may be the result of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. You can distinguish this infection by the sweet odor it produces.
The infection will require a visit to the dermatologist for prevention of further outbreaks. During the treatment, avoid wearing open-toe shoes and walking barefoot outside. Protect the nail bed from the bacteria by cleaning with a soft bristle brush.
4. Fungus Infection
Black spot toenail fungus can be the result of a nail fungus known as onychomycosis. The spot is often seen with brittle toenails with a yellowish hue color.
This condition requires an antifungal treatment or a specialized nail polish with medical components. Surgical nail removal may be recommended in severe cases of fungal infections.
5. Skin Cancer
A black spot on toenail may be the result of acral lentiginous melanoma, or skin cancer. Commonly seen on the big toe, this form of cancer also produces vertical borders.
Black Spots Under Toenail Treatments
For a black spot under toenail treatment, you may be able to use topical, over-the-counter products to cure the underlying cause. There are also gentle products to add to a foot bath to treat the ailment.
If your nail has partially or completely turned black, the fungus infection has set in and destroyed the nail. The toenail will become cracked and brittle and will fall off on its own. We do have preventative measures to treat infected and injured toenails before this happens.
Home Remedies to Treat Black Toenail Fungus
Prevent further complications from black spot under toenail fungus with homemade foot soaks and topical treatments.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used for centuries to treat various conditions as it contains antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. These components work together to fight most forms of fungus infections found on the foot.
It is recommended to dilute this strong essential oil with a carrier oil as adding water delays it’s healing effects. Treat the tea tree oil as a nail polish and apply it to the nail bed and surrounding skin several times each day.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
The natural acidity of apple cider vinegar destroys the fungi behind the infection. Use it as a foot soak in a bath of two parts water to one part vinegar for a 20-minute treatment on a daily basis.
Household bleach has been used to treat toenail fungus successfully. Those with sensitive skin should not use this form of fungus treatment.
With the risk bleach poses, it is recommended to use a small amount of bleach with a larger amount of warm water for the soak. Only treat the infected toe with the solution and not the entire foot.
To discover a black spot on toenail can raise alarms, both for your health and your vanity. Most cases are caused by a recent mild trauma to the toe and will eventually disappear without taking any action. Conditions such as infections or skin cancer will require medical attention to prevent further complications.
A fungal infection can result in the loss of the nail without treatment. It can also spread to other toes and calls for maintaining dry, clean feet at all times, especially after washing or treating feet with foot baths. It is best advised to check your toenails every day for any signs of trauma or infection.
“What Causes Dark Spots On Toenails And How To Get Rid Of It?” Tandurust, November 8, 2016; http://www.tandurust.com/nail-care/dark-spots-on-toenails-causes.html, last accessed May 25, 2017.
Could A Black Spot Under the Toenail Be Fungus?” YellowToenailsCured; https://www.yellowtoenailscured.com/black-spot-under-the-toenail/, last accessed May 25, 2017.