runner's toes?
July 13, 2012 11:39 PM   Subscribe

Two of my toes turned black after wearing shoes that were too tight. It's been a month and they still haven't healed completely. Is there anything I can do?

My question is similar to this one, but unlike that OP, I haven't done anything to my toenails except trim them. Also, it's the middle toes of both feet that are affected.

It's been nearly a month and the toes aren't hurting me at all, not even when I put pressure on them. The middle toe on my left foot is starting to heal, though it still has blushes of purple. The one on my right foot has shown no progress at all, as far as I can tell. It looks completely black/very dark purple underneath the toe nail. My mom tells me the toenail should fall off on its own in time.

I don't think I'm at risk for infection...or am I? Is there anything I can/should do?
posted by myntu to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by radiosilents at 11:44 PM on July 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

Yeah -- see a doc.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:45 PM on July 13, 2012

Does the skin around the nail respond to sensation and quickly re-color after you press on it with a finger? If so: dead nails, they'll eventually fall off, not a big deal. If not: doctor, stat.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:58 PM on July 13, 2012

For the love of god, could you please say "two of my toeNAILS turned black", not "toes"? Not only will it help the readers not faint, but will result in more accurat advise.
posted by VikingSword at 12:01 AM on July 14, 2012 [36 favorites]

Best answer: Though I didn't have the whole nail go black, I did sustain a black spot due to injury on the toe two or so years ago. As it was a spot it moved over probably a year or so off the "plate" of nail eventually. It was like watching planets in the night sky over several weeks (but months). Either it will grow out eventually or it will fall off completely.
posted by Bodrik at 12:33 AM on July 14, 2012

Best answer: If it actually is toenails rather than toes then it's going to take a lot longer than a month for it to grow out. After I walked a marathon I lost something like six toenails and the rest were partially or wholly black and it was at least four or five months before things started looking at all normal. There were no long term ill effects. You may be at slightly more chance of a fungal infection if the nail bed is damaged, but that's not a given and there's nothing much you can do besides the usual stuff to avoid fungal infection. Go to a doctor if things change and you think you actually do have an infection but just black spots growing out? All you need is more time.

If your actual toes are black then yeah, see a doctor right now because that's really strange.
posted by shelleycat at 3:33 AM on July 14, 2012

Best answer: When I bruised a fingernail it took months to grow out, because the blood/bruise was trapped under the nail. It could not be reabsorbed by the body. A little TMI, here: when the black spot grew out, it was basically regular nail with a layer of old blood under it - the blood was not part of the nail or part of the skin, it was just sitting there. Of course, your toenails are likely to be a bit smaller than my fingernails, so they may grow out quicker.

If your nail doesn't hurt especially (maybe a little residual bruise pain) and the toe itself is healthy, you don't need to go to the doctor. (Of course, if it changes/gets worse, then you should go.)
posted by Frowner at 4:59 AM on July 14, 2012

(It is your toenails, right? Right??)

My big toenails blacken and fall off at the beginning of every winter when I switch from sandals and flipflops to my steel toed winter hiking boots. (They fit perfectly, I just have a slightly odd gait because I was born with metatarsus adductus and had to wear special shoes while I was learning to walk.) It's no big deal once the pain stops--just let them fall off naturally. It's just a blood blister forming under the nail.

Don't do any of the stupid shit I do--don't pierce the nail with a needle to release the blood or rip it off or anything of that nature. Just keep the nail trimmed. It takes me a good six months to have a halfway normal nail. Just in time for flip flop weather. :)
posted by xyzzy at 6:07 AM on July 14, 2012

This has happened to me a couple of times because of a certain pair of shoes...the black part of my toenail eventually came off and it took a few months at least for the whole toenail to grow back and look normal. I didn't have a whole toenail for about 6 months.
posted by fromageball at 6:13 AM on July 14, 2012

In the blackened nail world, a month is nothing. Sure, see a doctor, but you're likely worrying way too soon.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:40 AM on July 14, 2012

Agreeing that if it's just your toenails then you're fine and should just monitor them; if anything alarming happens aside from them falling off, see a doctor, but otherwise do nothing. If it's the entire toe, go see a doctor ASAP!
posted by Scientist at 10:44 AM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did you wear socks? If not, it might be dye from the shoes leaching off onto your toenails.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:37 AM on July 15, 2012

Don't do any of the stupid shit I do--don't pierce the nail with a needle to release the blood

I dremel a small hole in my finger nails when I get a blood blister under my nails and it's worked for me.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:20 PM on July 16, 2012

Response by poster: dang, sorry if it wasn't obvious from the question that I was talking about my toenails. It's not exactly just my toenails, though, but the whole skin underneath the toenails too. Hopefully none of y'all actually fainted upon reading the longer description.

I did call an advice nurse that week and she told me that I needn't worry unless it looked like it was getting infected. So I waited. The color of my toenails turned from black to purple to an ugly yellow until part of my right toe nail fell off last week. It looks fine now, with the nail growing back so the toenail will be of even thickness. The other one still has a tinge of purple.

Anyway, I'm posting this up in case anyone else has a similar worry later on regarding darkened TOENAILS due to tight shoes.
posted by myntu at 10:19 AM on August 24, 2012

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