Black Toenail: 6 Potential Causes
There are various reasons for black toenails and many causes are easy to treat. The cause of a black toenail may be benign or quite serious. It is important for a person who develops a black toenail to understand some of the potential causes. When in doubt, it is a good idea to be examined by a medical professional who can diagnose the problem and develop an effective treatment plan. When a person wears poorly-fitting shoes, they may be at risk of developing black toenails due to repetitive trauma. Long-term pressure on the toes from poorly-fitting shoes can cause a range of problems, from small blisters to bloody blisters under the nail. In mild cases, the black toenail will grow out naturally over time without treatment. In severe cases, such as when the nail begins to detach from the nail bed, a person should seek medical treatment. In some cases, the trauma may be a one-time blunt-force injury, for example, if a person drops a heavy object on their foot or toes. When this happens, blood vessels in the nail bed break, causing blood to pool there. The injured toe will start to hurt and pool blood beneath the skin almost immediately. The buildup of blood will cause the toe to feel painful and swollen. A doctor can treat this condition by draining the blood with a pinprick. Fungal infections are another common problem that can cause black toenails to form. Typically, a fungal infection causes a white or yellowish discoloration. However, debris can build up near the infection, causing the nail to appear black. Toenails are particularly susceptible to fungal infections, as socks and shoes can provide a warm and moist breeding ground for a fungus to become established. Fungal infections can usually be prevented with proper foot care. In rare cases, a black toenail may be Continue reading >>
Nail Removal For Nail Fungus?
What can be done about nail fungus with a diabetic? I am 36. I've been a diabetic for over 12 years (Type 2). My left foot has always been prone to athlete's foot and now my nails are turning black. The nail on my left big toe is totally blackened. I've cut the nail down to the cuticle. Is this safe? My doctor said, "Get rid of the nail, get rid of the fungus." So, I got rid of the nail (most of it). What advice can you offer? Should I have the entire nail removed? – Yolanda, Florida It seems that you and your doctor have taken the surgeon's approach to toenail infection! Before we get to cutting or removing the nails, let me point out a few general facts. Individuals who suffer from diabetes are susceptible to toenail fungal infections and their complications. It is very important to treat the infection and achieve good glucose control. (This is not just a cosmetic problem for individuals who have diabetes.) Treatment depends on the stage of the infection and other factors. If there is only a white patch on the nail, an antifungal lacquer application will cure the infection. If there is nail thickening, brittleness, separation and inflammation, an oral (pill) antifungal agent can be effective as a single therapy or in combination with an antifungal lacquer. The usual discoloration of the toenail is a yellowish brown hue. If there are other organisms causing the change in the toenail, the discoloration may take on a dark green to black appearance. Black toenail can also be caused by trauma, autoimmune disorders, and melanoma. So it is important to arrive at the right diagnosis before treatment. This can be done by a biopsy and culture of the toenail. Removing the toenail completely is not recommended for individuals who have diabetes, since the risk of complications d Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Foot Problems
Foot problems are common in people with diabetes. You might be afraid you’ll lose a toe, foot, or leg to diabetes, or know someone who has, but you can lower your chances of having diabetes-related foot problems by taking care of your feet every day. Managing your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar, can also help keep your feet healthy. How can diabetes affect my feet? Over time, diabetes may cause nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy, that can cause tingling and pain, and can make you lose feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Cuts and sores can become infected. Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet. Not having enough blood flowing to your legs and feet can make it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Sometimes, a bad infection never heals. The infection might lead to gangrene. Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not get better with treatment can lead to an amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg. A surgeon may perform an amputation to prevent a bad infection from spreading to the rest of your body, and to save your life. Good foot care is very important to prevent serious infections and gangrene. Although rare, nerve damage from diabetes can lead to changes in the shape of your feet, such as Charcot’s foot. Charcot’s foot may start with redness, warmth, and swelling. Later, bones in your feet and toes can shift or break, which can cause your feet to have an odd shape, such as a “rocker bottom.” What can I do to keep my feet healthy? Work with your health care team to make a diabetes self-care plan, which is an action plan for how you will manage your diabetes. Your plan should inclu Continue reading >>
Diabetes Foot Care
You're more likely to have foot problems with diabetes because it can damage your nerves and lessen blood flow to your feet. The American Diabetes Association estimates that it's the reason why 1 in 5 people with diabetes who seek hospital care do so. You have to take care of your feet when you have diabetes. Poor foot care may lead to amputation of a foot or leg. Your doctor will check yours each year for problems. If you take good care of your feet, you can prevent most serious problems related to diabetes. Use mild soaps and warm water. Pat your skin dry; do not rub. Thoroughly dry your feet. After washing, put lotion on them to prevent cracking. But not between your toes! Look carefully at the tops and bottoms of your feet. Have someone else do it if you can't see them. Check for dry, cracked skin. Look for blisters, cuts, scratches, or other sores. Check for redness, increased warmth, or tenderness when you touch an area. Watch for ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses. If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, don't "pop" it. Put a bandage over it, and wear a different pair of shoes. Cut toenails after bathing, when they are soft. Trim them straight across, then smooth with a nail file. Avoid cutting into the corners of toes. You may want a podiatrist (foot doctor) to do it for you. Don't cut cuticles. Walk and work out in comfortable shoes. Don't exercise when you have open sores on your feet. Continue reading >>
Blackened Toenail With Type Ii Diabetes
Just wondered if anybody can help. My husband has the above but also has a circulation problem in his legs which causes swelling and puffiness. He has just had his diabetic check up and the doc noticed one of his toenails was looking bruised, not exactly black but greyish reddish. She said it could be a bruise but has referred him on the two week wait in case its a melanoma. Really scared now.......... anybody had anything similar and can reassure please Hi Shirley, Yeah, that's super scary. Did your doctor say anything about it possibly being a circulation problem? I'd try some alternative treatments, including acupuncture and herbs while you're waiting to see the specialist. In that time, you may be able to turn it around. Whatever you do, try it fast, because you don't want to lose the toe. I'd also do some online research on diabetes symptoms and toes. You may find some similar pictures. That might give you a better idea of what you're dealing with. Good luck! Continue reading >>
Nail Discoloration: Symptoms & Signs
Nail discoloration, in which the nails appear white, yellow, or green, can result from different infections and conditions of the skin. In about 50% of cases, discolored nails are a result of infections with common fungi that can be found in the air, dust, and soil. There are many species of fungi that can affect nails. By far the most common, however, is called Trichophyton rubrum. This type of fungus has a tendency to infect the skin and is therefore known as a dermatophyte. Pseudomonas is a type of bacteria that infects the nail bed and results in a greenish color to the nails. Red or black (that may sometimes appear bruised) nails may result from a hematoma (a collection of blood) under the nail as a result of trauma (including ingrown toenails). Chronic medical conditions also can affect the appearance of the nails. Specific color changes in the nails can be suggestive of diabetes or of liver, kidney, heart, or lung conditions. This is why doctors pay specific attention to nails during a routine physical examination. Other, rare causes of discolored nails include the "yellow nail syndrome," an inherited condition that results in slow-growing, yellowing, discolored nails and is associated with lymphedema (swelling of tissues due to the accumulation of fluid) and lung diseases. Nails may also appear lightened to a whitish-yellow color if there has been separation of the nail from the nail bed, termed onycholysis. The skin, mucous membranes, and nails may appear blue when there is inadequate oxygenation of blood (cyanosis), but this is not true discoloration of the nail itself. REFERENCE: Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015. Continue reading >>
How To Look After Your Feet If You Have Diabetes
It's especially important to look after your feet if you have diabetes. Here's how to take care of your feet and advice on when to get professional help. Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling known as peripheral neuropathy. This can mean foot injuries do not heal well, and you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured. "The risk of complications can be greatly reduced if you're able to bring your blood sugar levels under control," says foot specialist Mike O'Neill. "Ensure that your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also monitored and controlled with medication if needed." Foot care tips if you have diabetes See a private or NHS podiatrist at least once a year. You should be eligible for an NHS podiatrist if you have a long term condition such as diabetes. Ask your GP for a referral or find a local podiatrist. Keep your feet clean and free from infection. Wear shoes that fit well and don't squeeze or rub. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns and calluses, ulcers and nail problems. Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach on holidays to avoid cuts and try to avoid sitting with your legs crossed so you don't constrict your blood circulation. Cut or file your toenails regularly. Get corns or hard skin treated by a podiatrist. Stop smoking to protect your feet If you have diabetes, it's important to try to stop smoking. Smoking impairs the blood circulation, particularly in people with diabetes. It can seriously worsen foot and leg problems. Read more about how the NHS can help you to stop smoking. When to see a doctor Seek treatment from your GP or podiatrist if blisters or injuries do not heal quickly. You should see your doctor urgently if: you notice breaks in the skin of your foot, or discharge seep Continue reading >>
Black Toenails—not Your Problem Any More!
Not now, not again! Add another black toenail to the book, which surely means another discolored, painful problem that will cause your toenail to fall off or be bruised for a while. Black toenails are often caused by a sudden injury or repeated trauma. Whatever the cause, it’s an issue that can be treated and prevented with these pointers from Dr. Brian McDowell and Dr. Gavin P. Ripp from McDowell Podiatry Group. The Black Toenail The discoloration that you’re seeing is a small amount of bleeding underneath the nail, also known as subungual hematoma. Not to fear, though. Most of these injuries are minor. However, if the issue also involves a broken bone or damage to the nail bed, you should seek a doctor’s care right away or go to the emergency room. Ouch! Causes for Bleeding Underneath Nails You may have encountered a bad shoe, a blunt object, or a fungal infection to receive this darkened color under the toenail. Very common occurrences, such as stubbing your toe, slamming your finger in a car door, or dropping a heavy object—like a TV—on your foot during moving day are often the reason for black nails. In rare cases, you might be experiencing discoloration due to a tumor underneath the nail. You may have this if the darkening doesn’t grow out as the nail grows out. Another sign of a tumor—the darkening started with no history of trauma to the nail. Please see a doctor! Throbbing, Discolored Digits You nail will throb as it fills up with substance, creating extra pressure underneath the nail bed. The blood can take on many colors, sometimes appearing purple, red, brown, or black. Inside that color, you might also see some discharge. Lastly, and reluctantly, take a whiff. It might be emitting a foul odor. If you can confirm these symptoms, you can treat y Continue reading >>
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Have Diabetes? Take That Toenail Fungus Seriously
Before I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, toenail fungus was a problem, but I did not take it seriously because over-the-counter remedies seemed to work just fine. However, after having diabetes for a while I began to notice yellowing and thickening in the big toenails that spread to some of the other toes, too. Was Type 2 diabetes doing this to me? As always, I did some research. The fact is that a lot of people develop toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, but it is about twice as common in people with diabetes. Diabetic nerve damage in the feet, which may prevent a person from noticing damage to his toenails, and reduced circulation, which affects healing, are both partly responsible for this increased risk. You probably already know how important it is to inspect your feet every day, looking for red spots, blisters, sores, or other types of irritation. These can become life threatening if they are left alone for very long. The threat of lower-leg amputation hangs over us, and about 60% of these procedures occur in people with diabetes. There are fewer of these procedures now because of better diabetes care and education, but amputations are still performed when foot and leg sores do not heal. What I did not know was that toenail fungus can lead to an increased risk for amputation. That means those benign-looking ugly toenails can no longer be covered up and ignored. The first step to taking good care of your feet is going to a podiatrist, or foot doctor, regularly. You should visit him at least once a year for a foot checkup. This specialist will watch for signs of toenail fungus and inform you of the best ways to treat it. Because you have diabetes, the treatment for toenail fungus will be a little different, and perhaps more aggressive, too. I tried to avoid those Continue reading >>
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Link Between Type 2 Diabetes And Black Toenail Fungus
Many people with Type 2 diabetes have problems with their feet. This is due to poor circulation and nerve damage. Perhaps you’ve started getting pins and needles in the feet? The hardening and darkening of the toenails are common, and sometimes the blackening of toenails can be a sign that you have developed a fungal infection. When a fungus reaches the stage where it turns a toenail a dark or black color, it becomes a problem. This can result in it spreading to other nails, or even cause other medical problems if it’s not treated quickly. But is the link between Type 2 diabetes and black toenail fungus nothing more than a coincidence? If you have diabetes and have experienced foot issues (including athlete’s foot), paying attention to the warning signs of toenail fungus is critically important. Taking care of your feet should be one of your highest priorities. The feet are where many warning signs originate. So, if you pay close enough attention to the health of your feet and toes, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor in the long run. Is Toenail Fungus a Sign of Diabetes? Black toenail fungus and diabetes can sometimes go hand-in-hand. But, does that mean toenail fungus is a symptom of diabetes? Unfortunately, there’s no clear way to answer this question. Toenail fungus could be an early symptom of diabetes. But, with so many potential causes, this question requires further investigation. How Toenail Fungus is Contracted Toenail fungus is caused by trapped moisture underneath the nail bed, creating a breeding ground for fungi to grow. Perhaps you went barefoot in a public shower, or maybe you were getting a pedicure, and the pedicurist accidentally poked the nail bed with an infected tool. You may not even know where, or how, you got an infection. But, you d Continue reading >>
10 Subtle Signs Of Disease Your Feet Can Reveal
You notice: Dry, flaky feet iStock/nebari It could be: Thyroid problems, especially if moisturizer doesn’t help. When the thyroid gland (the butterfly-shaped gland in the base of your neck) goes on the fritz, it doesn’t properly produce thyroid hormones, which control metabolic rate, blood pressure, tissue growth, and skeletal and nervous system development. “Thyroid problems cause severe dryness of the skin,” says Marlene Reid, DPM, a foot specialist in Naperville, Illinois. “When we see cracking on the feet, or if moisturizer doesn’t improve dryness over a few days, we usually refer patients to their primary doctor to make sure their thyroids are OK.” Brittle toenails can also signal thyroid complications. Here are some healthy habits for a happy thyroid. You notice: Bald toes iStock/ValuaVitaly It could be: Arterial disease. If the fuzz on your toes suddenly disappears, it could signal poor blood circulation caused by peripheral arterial disease (PAD). “Signs of PAD can include decreased hair growth on the feet and ankles, purplish toes, and thin or shiny skin,” says Suzanne Fuchs, DPM, a podiatric surgeon at North Shore University Hospital in New York. A buildup of plaque in the leg arteries, PAD affects about 8 million Americans. Symptoms are subtle, but doctors can check for a healthy pulse in the foot or spot PAD on an X-ray. “If I take an X-ray of a broken foot, and I see a hardening of the arteries, 99 percent of the time, the same thing is happening in the heart blood vessels,” says Gary A. Pichney, DPM, a podiatric surgeon of The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center. (These 11 tests detect silent heart diseases.) You notice: Ulcers that don't heal iStock/fizkes It could be: Diabetes. Uncontrolled glucose le Continue reading >>
Black Toenail - Diabetes - Type 1 - Medhelp
I am a 37 year old type 1 diabetic. I have been a diabetic for 8 years now. My A1C has averaged around a 9 to a 10 for the most part. For the past 4 months I have experienced severe pain in my calf, thigh and feet. I have also had a throbbing ache and sting through out my whole body. About a week ago both of my big toes felt raw to the touch at the toe nail and now my right big toe nail has turned black and is sore. My vision has been getting blurry when i read. I also have a history of Afib. What could this be? You could be developing a blood clot or gangrene.This is a medical emergency, so please go to see your dr and get this properly assessed now. If you are lucky, it may just be neuropathy (also serious, but not life-threatening like the above). Your average a1c of 9 - 10 means you have an average blood sugar of 240 - 280. Considering that normal non-diabeticblood sugars are in the range of 80-120 and a normal Hb1c is < 5.0, your blood sugars are very dangerously high. Are you using basal / bolus insulin?If not, you need to. Would strongly recommend you follow a low carb diet (very low carb / high fat / moderate protein). The following books can be used as resource to find out how to properly use insulin:- If you cannot get your blood sugar under control you are at serious risk of major complications or even death? IF your dr will not help you get this under control very quickly, you need to look for another doctor. However, for now, what you describe may possibly be a medical emergency.Please see your dr and let us know how you go. Continue reading >>
How Do I Fight Toenail Fungus?
What can you tell me about the dreaded toe fungus? It seems to develop very slowly and can get vicious! I've heard it can get all through the system if not treated. Just what can happen? More important, is there a way to avoid it, besides the regular foot care, dry feet, no bare feet, etc.? Is there an over-the-counter cream that can cure the fungus before it gets so bad that oral meds are needed? Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Cause Toenails To Turn Black?
If you have diabetes and are wondering if it’s related to an unsettling black patch on your toenail, you’ll want to head straight to a dermatologist first rather than your diabetes doctor. A slowly growing and increasing blackness or very dark area on a toenail may be a sign of melanoma skin cancer. However, that is not the most likely cause. But what if you DO have diabetes? An infection called paronychia affects the nail fold and can be chronic (longstanding) or acute (sudden). This infection is not caused by diabetes, but is more common in diabetics. When it’s chronic, the damage to the cuticle can lead to a distortion in the underlying nail tissues. This will then cause a space that is vulnerable to infection. One of the microbes that can infect this space is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is this microorganism that has the potential to give the nail an almost black (more likely a blue-black) color. Another microbe, Fusarium, can cause a blackish patch in a toenail. But there is nothing about diabetes that literally turns the toenail (or fingernail) itself black, blue-black or dark brown. Melanoma can turn a toenail black. Typically, though, it’s not the entire nail, but can be most of it (below). A hematoma (blood collection) can result in a “black” toenail. Normally this is caused by either a blunt trauma (something falling on the foot) or prolonged sport or exercise activity such as hiking downhill in footwear that’s not as roomy as it should be. The darkness begins developing within a day or two of the insult. If you have diabetes, do not chalk this up as a cause of an unexplained dark or black coloring in a toenail or fingernail. See a dermatologist to rule out a serious cause. Sources medicinenet.com/nail_discoloration/symptoms.htm practicaldi Continue reading >>
A Black Toenail Can Be A Big Problem
Abnormal color change is usually a warning sign of damage. Sometimes the problem is relatively minimal, like a light bruise on the surface of the skin. Other times, the discoloration warns of dramatic problems that need to be addressed, like someone turning blue when choking. A black toenail can signal a variety of changes—some benign, but others more painful and serious. When Toes Turn Dark Nails change colors for multiple reasons. The most common culprit for a black toenail is blood under the hard tissue. Damage to the end of the toe causes blood to leak through the nail bed and stain the keratin a dark color. This is also known as a subungual hematoma, or a bruise under the nail. Typically the problem develops from repeated trauma over time, for instance, continually bumping your toes against the front of your shoes. Sometimes, however, it can be the result of one sudden, traumatic injury to the foot, like kicking a solid object or dropping a heavy box on your toe. This condition is unsightly, but it isn’t always painful. Your nail will turn a darkened color and may eventually pull loose and fall off. However, if the blood pools, it will create painful pressure between your toe and the nail. Sometimes you’ll notice a discharge and foul odor. More rarely, you may have severe damage in the nail bed, like lacerations or even fractured bone. These injuries leave you vulnerable to infections and other complications. Occasionally a black toenail will be caused by something other than blood. Fungal infections can darken the keratin tissue, especially if debris collects under the nail. A malignant melanoma tumor can also develop under your nail, turning it dark. While this is rare, melanoma is deadly and should always be investigated. Managing the Condition To relieve Continue reading >>