Are you concerned about a purple toenail? Marc Goldberg, D.P.M.; Christopher Farnworth, D.P.M.; Michael Frank, D.P.M.; and Adam Lowy, D.P.M.; your Silver Spring, Olney, Clinton and Kensington, MD podiatrists explain why your toenail may suddenly look purple.
What causes purple toenails?
Purple toenails can occur due to a variety of reasons, including:
An Injury: Have you recently injured your toe? You may have dropped something heavy on it or bumped it against a wall or other hard object. When you injured your toe, it began to bleed under the nail. As the blood dried, it darkened and turned purple.
Poorly Fitting Shoes: Whether your shoes are too tight or rub against your toes, you can develop purple toenails. The problem is particularly common in runners. Every time you take a step during your run, your shoe puts pressure on your toes. Long distance runners and those who frequently run up and down hills may be more likely to develop the problem.
Fungus: A fungus can also turn your nail purple.
A Tumor: Although they're rare, tumors can cause a change in nail color.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If you remember injuring your toe, the purple color will gradually grow out as the new area of the nail grows in most cases. Mild injuries usually heal on their own, but if you've hurt your toe and are experiencing significant pain or signs of infection, such as pus or red streaks on your toe, it's time for a visit to your foot doctors in Silver Spring, Olney, Clinton, or Kensington, MD. He or she may need to remove the nail to determine if the tissues underneath have been damaged. Failing to treat a cut or exposed bone under a nail can cause osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection.
It's particularly important to visit your podiatrist if your nail has turned purple or black, and you don't remember injuring it. In many cases, you may simply need an anti-fungal medication to treat a fungal infection, but it's always a good idea to rule out more serious disease and conditions, such as cancer.
Your podiatrist can diagnose and treat the cause of purple toenails. Call Marc Goldberg, D.P.M.; Christopher Farnworth, D.P.M.; Michael Frank, D.P.M.; and Adam Lowy, D.P.M.; your Silver Spring, Olney, Clinton and Kensington, MD, podiatrists to schedule an appointment.