Black Toenails


A black, purple, or brownish discoloration of part of the toe nail or the complete toenail is known as the condition “back toenail”.  The condition is frequently caused by trauma to the toenail.  Traumatic injuries could be a  result of dropping something heavy on the toe nail or accidentally hitting it hard against something.  When a trauma occurs, bleeding occurs under the toenail.  Sometimes blood clotting will occur, as well, under a portion of the  nail or under the entire the toe nail, causing the discoloration.

This condition, especially if it involves the entire toe nail, can be very painful. This is even more evident when pressure is applied to the toe nail such as the pressure from putting on a shoe.  Medical attention should be given to blac toe to treat and relieve the pain. If the bleeding or clotting causes severe pain it is sometimes necessary to relieve the pressur under the toe nail.  This should only be performed by a foot and ankle doctor.  See Dr. Westermeyer to assess the condition and determine if medical treatment is necessary.

Signs and Symptoms:

The signs and symptoms of blacktoe involve discoloration due to bleeding under the toe nail and often pain in the affected area.


Dr. Westermeyer will examine the toenail and affected area and assess the extent of the trauma.  The doctor will evaluate the condition for malignant melanoma, although rare. Malignant melanoma is a more serious cause of black toenail.  Early diagnosis and treatment of malignant melanoma has shown to improve the chance of a positive outcome.


Dr. Westermeyer has many treatment options available, including bunion and hammertoe surgery,

and will choose the method that is best suited to the condition and the patient’s lifestyle.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, please come in and visit Dr. Westermeyer to determine the severity of the condition and to learn about the treatment options available to you.