Why is My Toe Nail Black?

Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
By Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
Updated on November 15, 2023

Discoloration of the toenails is a common occurrence that can have various causes. In this article, we will explore one of the most common reasons people notice their toenails turning black or darkly discolored.

Why is my toe nail black?

One of the most common reasons your toenail may appear black is due to bruising or injury under the nail. When there is trauma or pressure under the nail, it can lead to blood accumulating and darkening the nail.

Causes of bruising or injury under the nail

Some potential causes of bruising or injury under the toenail include:

  • Bumping or dropping something heavy on the toe
  • Stubbing the toe, especially against furniture corners
  • Tight or ill-fitting shoes squeezing the toes
  • Participating in high-impact activities without proper footwear

Timeframe for healing

In most cases of minor bruising or injury under the toenail, the discoloration will gradually fade as the blood is reabsorbed by the body, which can take several weeks or months. As new nail grows in behind the injury, the dark area will grow out. Soaking the foot in warm water can help speed healing.


If simple bruising or injury seems to be the cause of your black toenail, it’s usually not a cause for serious concern. Monitor it for signs of infection like increasing pain, swelling or redness around the nail. See your doctor if it doesn’t improve or seems to be worsening. Taking care of your nails and wearing properly fitting shoes can help prevent toenail discoloration from occurring in the future.

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