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When the area underneath your toenails gets bruised, it may appear black. Bleeding may occur or a blood clot may form that is visible through the nails. The condition is common in runners and athletes who experience frequent pounding of their feet on the toe box of their shoes. It can also occur when you drop a heavy object on your toes or when someone steps on your toes. The condition can be painful, but with proper treatment, discomfort can be limited.

Black Under Toenail From Repetitive Trauma (Bleeding)

Fill a basin with cold water.

Submerge your affected foot in the water for up to 20 minutes. You can also place an ice pack on the area. The cold will offer relief and reduce any swelling of the toes. Elevate your feet after soaking them.

Replace your shoes and sneakers with footwear that has a wide toe box so your toes have sufficient room to move.

Decrease the intensity and frequency of your training. Exposing your toes to less repetitive trauma, such as running, will eventually allow the black under the toenails to heal and clear up.

Black Under Toenail From Accidental Trauma (Blood Clot)

Wet a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe it over a needle. Hold the tip of the needle under a flame for five seconds to heat it up.

Position the tip of the needle over the discolored area of your toe. Push the needle through the toenail by applying pressure. Avoid piercing through the skin below the nail. You just want to poke a hole through the toenail. Remove the needle as soon as the nail is pierced. Blood will come out of the hole as the blood clot under the nail drains.

Apply a topical antiseptic to the hole and toenail to avoid infections. Cover the toe with a small piece of gauze.


Consult your doctor to determine the cause of the black under your toenail. If there is no foot trauma or viable reason for your toenail to appear black, it may be due to melanoma.

If the toenail falls off, allow six to eight months for a new nail to grow.