Tuesday, 19 July 2022 00:00

When Toenails Turn Black

A blackened area under the toenail occurs when blood collects beneath the nail as the result of damage to the toe. The condition is sometimes referred to as tennis toe, or runner’s toe. It is also known as a subungual hematoma. When the toe is repeatedly jammed against the toebox of a shoe, it may cause bruising that seems to turn the toenail black. The big toe is typically affected, causing a throbbing pain under the nail. The condition is often the result of constant changes in direction. This can occur while playing certain sports or experiencing a continuous pounding while running. It can also be caused by a traumatic injury to the toe, such as dropping something heavy on the toe. In many cases, the toe will heal on its own with rest, ice, and elevation. But if the toe is causing intense pain or the area becomes infected, it is a good idea to see a podiatrist for a complete exam and proper diagnosis. In some cases, the area may need to be drained or the toenail itself removed by a podiatrist.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of Dr. Jeffrey J. Betman & Associates . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Northwest Chicago, Southwest Chicago, and Wicker Park, Chicago, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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