There are various reasons why toenails turn black and discolored. Some of the more common include physical trauma or injury to the nail, fungal infection, running (or other athletic activities), and tight, ill-fitting shoes. In extremely rare cases, black toenails are an indication of malignant melanoma.
In many cases, the black coloration is an indication of blood that has pooled between the nail and its corresponding nailbed. This may involve either the entire nail or just a part of it, and can cause tremendous discomfort due to pressure from fluid buildup. (We can safely drain the fluid and relieve the pressure.)
Fungal infections can also lead to nail discoloration. When this is the case, you will need treatment that may include topical or oral medication or laser therapy, since the condition does not clear up on its own.
When it comes to malignant melanoma, early detection and treatment offer the best chance for successful recovery. For this reason, it is a wise decision to make your appointment with Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C., when you first note discoloration. Call us at (541) 776-3338 or schedule your appointment with our Medford, OR office online.