Black Spot On Toenails: What You Should Know About It


Black spot on toenail? You’re probably feeling alarmed by now. But, before you panic, here’s what those black spots really mean.

What Does Black Spot On Toenails Really Mean?

Black spots on toenails are more of a cosmetic issue than a medical concern. This means you’re not REALLY sick. Your nails just look bad. They can make you feel too conscious about going barefoot and letting others see your toes.

However, although they are harmless most of the time, this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of them being linked to more serious causes.

To help you understand the issue more, below is a list of the most common causes of those spots.

Causes of Black Spots On Toenails


nail injury
Via podiatrytoday

When you see black dots appearing on your toenails, the first thing you have to do is to recall any possible injury that may have caused them. When you hit your toe against something hard or when you drop something heavy on it, bruising or pooling of blood can happen.

Toenail injury, however, doesn’t always result in black spots. In some cases, they can start off with dark blue or purple tints.

Runner’s Toe

runners toe

Contrary to what most people believe in, Runner’s toe isn’t limited to athletes. It can happen to anyone wearing shoes that don’t fit. Even improper tying of shoelaces can lead to it.

A shoe without much room for your foot to slide forward can put too much pressure on the area. The same goes for shoes that have very low toe boxes. They can cause your toes to push deep towards the ground. The longer they are pushed, the more it can impair the flow of blood.


Two types of infection can cause black spots on toenails.

One is bacterial infection. The most common culprit behind it is a strain called Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. They are bacteria that grow well in moist environments, like pond water or mud. If you have been exposed to these places and you suddenly develop greenish-black toenails that smell like grapes, you should suspect a bacterial infection.

toenail bacterial infection

Fungal infection can contribute to black spots, too. However, unlike bacterial infection, it can be accompanied by other signs, like brittle nails, crumbling and discoloration.

Medically, this is referred to as onychomycosis. It can start off with little to no physical discomforts. When untreated, it can lead to paresthesia, difficulty walking and loss of self-esteem.

toenail fungal infection

Skin Cancer

In severe cases, black spots under your nails can signal a more serious problem. Acral lentiginous melanoma often causes black dots to appear on the big toe. Over time, these spots can be accompanied by vertical borders.

acral lentiginous melanoma
Via eMedicalHub

How To Get Rid OF Those Black Spots On Your Toenails

Having black dots on your nails can be embarrassing, especially if you aren’t wearing your shoes to cover your toes. To speed up healing and prevent them from re-appearing, here are some of the best tips we can share:

● For Runner’s toe, it’s imperative that you get new shoes. Using the same pair will prevent your toes from completely healing.
● Make sure that your toenails are well-trimmed. Avoid cutting them too short that you’re exposing the injured areas.
● Properly tie your shoelaces before running.
● For toenail injury, apply a cold compress to help decrease pain. The spots should be gone as soon as your nails grow long enough.
● To treat the bacterial infection, taking antibiotics prescribed by your dermatologist can help.
● Avoid going barefoot while your toes are healing. Make sure to wear shoes if you will be walking on dirt or grass.
● Antifungal medications, such as terbinafine, can be taken for fungal infected toenails. Using medicated nail polishes can help, too.
● Tea tree oil makes a great remedy to fungal infections.
● If the infection is too severe and the prognosis is poor, surgically removing the nails can be considered.

Should You See A Doctor?

If there are no signs of infection, like pain, discharge, and swelling, you may not see your doctor right away. However, if these things are present or if the black spot covers 25% of your nail, you should seek medical attention right away. This can be a sign that your nail bed has been seriously injured.