A well-groomed man is supposed to take care of every part of his body. Yes, that includes toenails. Typically, your toenails must be of  clear or translucent color, that is, they should be semi-transparent color, which is a sign of a healthy body. 

Many a time, toenail discoloration or purple toenails is a common problem complained about by men. Sometimes your toenails can appear like purple toenails, dark toenails, or even blue toenails. Is it a cause for worry? Let’s find out. 

Toenail discoloration is more common than you think. Several things can cause purple toenails like minor injuries, poor hygiene to serious health conditions. 

In today’s article, we have explored the potential causes of purple toenails and how to treat them. Read on!

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Causes of dark toenails 

The appearance of one’s toenails says a lot about the person, about their health, and also their efforts to take care of themselves. Sometimes, blue toenails can be an indication of serious health or medical condition.

Purple Toenails
Image source: Google

Let’s look at the causes of purple toenails. 

  • Fungal infection

Nail fungus, or simply put, a fungal infection is the most common cause of purple toenails. Nail fungus, also called onychomycosis isn’t usually painful unless the condition is severe. Onychomycosis causes over 50% of any nail diseases and usually affects the big toe’s nail first. 

The most common organism that causes toenail fungus is dermatophyte. They grow by eating the body’s natural keratin. However, mold or yeast can also cause blue toenails. 

A purple toenail fungal infection is most likely to affect males, older people, those who walk barefoot, and those who suffer from the poor peripheral circulation. If you have onychomycosis, your toenail color can be anything from blue to purple to yellow, green, black, or even reddish-brown.

  • Psoriasis

Another common cause of purple toenails is psoriasis. Psoriasis is a disorder that causes your body to make more skin cells quickly than they break down. This can result in patchy buildups and blue toenails. 

If you suffer from psoriasis, your nails can change color, become more brittle, crumble, develop dents, get thicker, and even lift off the nail bed. 

  • Minor Injuries

Minor injuries are yet another common cause that can cause your toenails to change color and become dark or purple. If you have recently dropped something heavy on your toes or stubbed your toes somewhere, that probably explains the discoloration in your toenails. 

Toenail injuries can also occur if you are a professional athlete or if you’ve simply been walking around in tight or ill-fitted shoes. Anything that can cause the tiny blood vessels under the toenails to break and leak blood, can be a potential cause for purple toenails. 

If you are suffering from subungual hematoma or a minority toe injury, your toenails will change from being purple or blue to be brown or black over time. Don’t worry, it’s normal. 

  • Diabetes

Men who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to discoloring their toenails causing toenails to look dark or purple. People with diabetes are more vulnerable to developing any kind of fungal infection in the first place.

If you have diabetes and your toenails have recently changed color, that can indicate a complication in your diabetes condition. Thus, you might like to get that checked out by a doctor or a professional. 

  • Melanoma

Melanoma is a severe kind of skin cancer that can also affect toenails, causing them to appear like purple toenails or dark toenails. 

  • Yellow nail syndrome

Yellow nail syndrome is a rare condition that causes your toenails to change color and appear yellow. Symptoms of yellow nail syndrome include:

  1. Toenails can look curved or thick
  2. Breathing problems 
  3. Your toenails can have no cuticle
  4. Your toenails can have indentations or ridges

Other possible and serious causes that can cause toenails to discolor and turn purple or blue are sinusitis, lung disease, kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic bronchitis, autoimmune conditions, lymphedema, liver disease, etc.

Thus, if the condition of your purple toenails persists, you should get it looked at by a doctor. 

Now that we’ve covered all the potential causes that might make your toenails look like purple toenails or dark toenails, let us explore treatment options.

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How to treat purple toenails? 

The best treatment options for purple toenails depend on the cause of the condition. However, whatever the cause might be, it takes time for it to go back to the natural color. Therefore, you must have patience and not panic. 

  • Treating fungal infection on toenails

Mind fungal infections on toenails respond well to over the counter anti-fungal treatments like ointments. You will be able to find such antifungal ointments in local drugstores. They are usually cheap and readily available. However, it is best to look for something that contains clotrimazole or terbinafine. These work best and give quick results.

For severe toenail fungal infections that are smelly, painful, and cause your toenails to crumble, you should see a doctor immediately. A professional medical practitioner will be able to guide you in the best way possible. Remember that if left untreated, fungal infections can cause permanent damage. So, you will have to act quickly.

  • Treating injuries

Minor injuries that cause toenails to appear dark or subungual hematoma usually go away on its own in a few days. 

The only thing you can do in the meantime is to rest your foot and not strain it any further. You can use ice or a cold towel to ease out the discomfort.

While the minor injury or subungual hematoma will subside in a few days, it takes about six or nine months for the toenail to grow out completely.

For the treatment of purple toenails that are caused by serious conditions like diabetes, lung or liver diseases, psoriasis, etc. it’s wise to contact a doctor immediately. And especially if the dark toenail is accompanied by other symptoms like pain, swelling, or bleeding.

The bottom line is to not panic. When there is a cause, there is a way out. Focus on your overall hygiene and you’ll be good to go. 

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