Why is My Nail Black? Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options


Black nails can be a cause for concern, especially when you don’t know what’s causing them. While some cases are harmless, others require immediate medical attention. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and prevention of black nails.

If you’ve been wondering, “why is my nail black?” keep reading to find out.

Causes of Black Nails

There are several reasons why your nail may turn black. Here are some of the most common causes:

Trauma or Injury

Trauma or injury to the nail bed can cause bleeding and bruising, resulting in a black nail. This type of injury can occur from stubbing your toe, dropping a heavy object on your toe, or even wearing tight shoes that put pressure on your toes.

Fungal Infection

A fungal infection of the nail, also known as onychomycosis, can cause the nail to turn black or yellow. This type of infection is more common in toenails than fingernails and can be caused by exposure to warm, moist environments such as swimming pools or locker rooms.

Fungal infections can be challenging to treat and may require prescription antifungal medications or even surgery in severe cases.

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Symptoms of Black Nails

If you have a black nail, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:


If your black nail is caused by trauma or injury, you may experience pain in the affected area. The pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the injury.


Swelling is another common symptom of black nails. The skin around the affected nail may become red and swollen, making it difficult to wear shoes or walk comfortably.


One of the most obvious symptoms of a black nail is discoloration. The nail may turn black, brown, or even purple, depending on the cause of the discoloration.

Changes in Texture

In addition to discoloration, black nails can also cause changes in texture. The nail may become thick, brittle, or even crumble in severe cases.

Diagnosis of Black Nails

To diagnose the cause of your black nail, your doctor may perform one or more of the following tests:

Physical Examination

Your doctor will start by examining the affected nail and surrounding area. They’ll look for signs of trauma, infection, or other issues that could be causing the discoloration.

Medical History

Your doctor will also ask about your medical history, including any recent injuries or illnesses that could be contributing to your black nail.

Laboratory Tests

If your doctor suspects a fungal infection or other underlying condition, they may order laboratory tests. These tests may include a nail culture, which involves taking a sample of the affected nail and testing it for bacteria or fungi. Blood tests may also be ordered to check for underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or anemia.

With a proper diagnosis, your doctor can recommend appropriate treatment options to help you get rid of your black nail and prevent it from happening again in the future.

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