Why is my toenail black underneath?

If you’ve ever looked down at your toes and noticed a black spot on one of your toenails, then congratulations, you are officially part of the Black Toenail Club! Membership is free but limited to those who have experienced this strange phenomenon. So why exactly does it happen? Let’s dive into the dark world of black toenails to find out.

The Anatomy Of Your Toenails

Before we start talking about what might cause a toenail to turn black, let’s take a quick look at what makes up our nails in general. Nails are made up mostly of keratin – that hard protein substance also found in our hair and skin cells. They’re also loaded with nerve endings making them quite sensitive little buggers.

A Closer Look At The Layers

Nails actually consist of several different layers:

  • The Nail Plate: The flat surface that most people think of as their nail.
  • The Nail Bed: This is where new nail cells form and push out the old ones.
  • The Lunula: That half-moon-shaped area near the base of your nail.
  • Cuticle: That thin layer right above where your fingernail grows out from under the skin.

Each one has its own job to do in order for our nails to function properly. Ok great so now that you know everything there is to know about toenail anatomy (cough) lets get back into why its turning colors from below shall we?

Causes Of Black Underneath Your Nail

Black discoloration around or under your nail can be alarming because often times changes in color like this can signal an underlying health condition but thats not always the case….there could be many other causes such as:

One Bad Shoe Day Can Ruin It All

Have you recently hit 10k+ step goal while wearing tight shoes similar like foot shaped mittens, with your toes crammed inside? Well don’t be surprised when that whole thing turns blue-ish! This is called a ‘subungual hematoma’ and its just a fancy way of saying that bleeding has occured beneath the nail due to injury. Unsurprisingly tight shoes are not actually shoes as they are torturous devices sent from hell.

Phony Fungus

While toenail fungus itself doesn’t typically cause blackened nails – there’s something it can lead to called onychomycosis which if not treated effectively can result in bacterial infections causing direct damage to tissues of the toe region not too oblique then!

By The Stroke Of Genius

Professional athletes like runners often fall victims to incessant feet activity. Sometimes vigorous strokes during playing footy or basketball can also led your nail turn black creating subungual hematoma coupled with super nasty nerve endings ouchiee (thats what we call hitting two birds with one stone).

Could it Be Anything Worse?

Black Nail Pigmentation could possibly signify other underlying conditions such as Melanonychia Striata (dark streaks) which may weigh dark thoughts in hypochondriacs disguised under scientific jargon – refer this section over coffee talks so people have mild panic attacks after listening to you spouting out these words (maniacal laughter ensues)

Melanomas / skin cancer: Like everything else health related, there’s always room for worst case scenarios. In rare cases a new irregular shaped, changing shapes and/or colors greater than a mm thick might indicate danger above normal fungal infection signals,so always consult an expert because Daddy Google knows nothing!!

Signs It’s Time To Ring Your Doc

It’s important that you should lookout for signs indicating the need for professional help à la Batman & Robin!

Persistent Pain

If pain from the discolored area continues or starts again sporadically then it may be due to a severe injury that needs looking into.

Spreading Of Discoloration Across Multiple Nails

If you notice any other similar discolotations on your other nails (excludes if ur party trick involves dipping multiple toenails in ink while walking over paper), then Yoda says ‘see a doctor, immediately you must’.


Sometimes overly tight shoes or injuries are the leading cause of toe nail discoloration. But sometimes even things like fungal infections can lead to such issues which is enough reason for concern because black nail pigmentation could indicate melanoma and some heavy-duty medical conditions. Always remember ‘Prevention Is Better Than Cure’ so when worst comes to worse/anything remotely suspicious always seek professional help!

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