Toe Nail Spots


Hello All!  I am back from vacation and have spots on my mind. There were lots on the beach but I am thinking about the kind on your toe nails.

I have talked often in the past about checking your toe nails for spots. The spot on your nail can be an sign of melanoma. Melanoma of the foot is the most deadly form of melanoma. Why? Because it often goes unnoticed and untreated.

There can be other reasons for spots under your toe nail. The first that comes to mind is a subungual hematoma. A subungal hematoma is blood under the nail. An injury that you would remember is the cause of the blood. It could be that you dropped a dumbbell or something heavy  on your toe. (Or somehow dropped a hammer on your toe or worse, accidentally hit your toe with a hammer.) It could be that you stubbed your toe with force against something hard. Generally a subungual hematoma will hurt. The buildup of blood under the nail is the cause of the pain. It also could be that you broke your toe. When you have this kind of injury you have two choices. You can ice the area for the first 24 hours and see if the pain goes away. During that time, you can also take over the counter pain relievers. (If you can tolerate them.) If the pain is intense, it is time to see your friendly local podiatrist. The doctor can check to see if you broke your toe and that is part of the pain. If the pain is from the subungual hematoma, the doctor can drain the blood. This procedure sounds worse than it feels.

Another reason for the toe nail area to become blackened is from athletics. Runners will find “Runner’s toe” when they finish a race. They will take off their shoes and see that their toe nail is black. There are several reasons for this to occur. The first reason is that the toe nail needs to trimming. If the toe nail is not in need of a trim then we look to the shoes. Shoes that do not allow the toes enough room are the cause of this injury. In this instance, the toe will rub against the shoe causing the injury. With this type of injury, resting the toe for a couple of days will help. Trimming the toe nail or getting shoes with the proper fit will be the solution. The toe will stay black until it grows out.
How can you tell the difference between the spot from runner’s toe and melanoma? Or the difference between a subungual hematoma and melanoma? When it is melanoma, the spot will not move as the toe nail grows. With subungual hematoma and runner’s toe, the spot will move with the toe nail growth.
I realize that I am a bit of a broken record about this, but it is important to check your toe nails.
Your Pal,
The Foot Blogger Chick

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