Long exhausting walks or long running sessions can result in severe damage of the toenails, which then results in the development of black toenail. With this condition, the color of the toenail suddenly changes and it becomes ugly-looking. The emergence of black toenail can become a concern, as people may not know much about the condition.
The main mechanism causing black toenail is incredibly simple. During long tiring walks or when jogging, toenails continuously strike against the internal part of the shoe. Due to this continuous striking, blunt trauma occurs to the nail. The blood vessels running benefit the nail burst, resulting in blood leaking through. This blood is usually confined in the channel between the nail and the skin, giving the typical appearance of black toenail. Initially, as the blood is red the toenail appears bright red and with the passage of time the color becomes dull and black.
Predisposing factors for this condition include using ill-fitting shoes, especially for physical activities like walking, jogging or sports. During these activities there is more stress on the toenails which require a soft and comfortable plane to settle in. If the shoes are too long the toenail will continue bang against the shoes and if it is too small, extreme pressure will be applied on the toenail. Both of these events can lead to nail damage.
Soccer players, tennis players, marathon runners, especially those who run downhill, and skiers comprise the most afflicted cluster with this problem.
Another important predisposition to black toenail is the handling of heavy objects which can fall on the feet, causing blunt trauma to the toe, thus blackening the nail. People not trimming their nails regularly are at high risk, because long nails have a greater chance of banging against the shoes, even during normal daily activity.
No doubt, the color change is the alarming factor of this condition, however other features may or may not be present. Pain is an integral component of black toenail. it usually hurts a lot during the first day and falls periodically with the passage of time. The change of color of the toenail to black is what alarms most people, and can cause great concern to those who have a disposition to worrying. However, the take-home message is not to panic in a case of black toenail, just wait and see as it will most likely resolve itself in a few weeks, without any other complications.