Black Toenail Fungus Causes, Symptoms, Pictures & Treatment


What are black toenail fungus symptoms? What causes black toenail fungus? Is there an effective black toenail fungus treatment?

If you are one of those people who observe their body keenly, you cannot fail to notice when your toenails change in color. Sometimes they may have white, yellow, purple, green or black spots. When they are black, you could have contracted fungus and the best thing is to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Black toenail fungus
Black colored fungus.

Going with nail fungus untreated can especially the black variety can cause you to have tetanus. Furthermore, the discoloration will cause you embarrassment and you may want to hide your toenails all day long in closed shoes or under layers of nail polish. However, this does end your nail predicament. You should get the best nail fungus medication, as it is the only cure for black toenail fungus. What causes black toenail fungus? Find out the causes, symptoms and treatment for black fungal infection on toenails shortly.

What Causes Black Toenail Fungus?

Your toenails could be black because of a host of reasons. What causes black toenail fungus?

  • Age, the older you get the higher the chances of being infected
  • Walking barefoot in public damp places such as swimming pools, locker rooms etc…
  • Diabetes
  • A weak immune system due to chronic diseases such as HIV, Cancer or poor eating habits among others
  • Using tools that are not sterilized at a nail salon
  • Wearing socks made of synthetic materials instead of cotton
  • Wearing tight fitting shoes
  • Having several layers of nail polish on your toenails and for an extended period of time
  • Applying acrylic nails
  • Trauma on nails

What causes black toenail fungus? Apart from the above causes, it could also be a sign of melanoma, a skin cancer that also affects the nail. Therefore, it is important to have a podiatrist check it out before you begin applying topical creams or taking oral antifungal medicines.

Black Toenail Fungus Symptoms

Like other nail fungus symptoms, those of black toenails are not any different apart from the color. There develops a spot, which is black in color on under the nail bed. Others have green, red, yellow or white spots instead.

Black toenail fungus symptoms may include pain if the spot if caused by trauma. This is why you should avoid lifting heavy objects as the impact of the weight is felt on your toes and feet. Furthemore, if you drop the heavy objects on your toes the black spot will automatically appear as a sign of injury. Fungus gets in through that injury.

Other symptoms include:

  • Itchiness on the first big toes or the smaller ones or all the five digits or 10 digits
  • Bulbous first digits
  • Nail separates from the nail bed
  • The nails become brittle
  • Flaky skin next to then toenail
  • Foul smell

Look out for these black toenail symptoms and book an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible.

Black Toenail Fungus Pictures

You can know for sure that you have fungus and of the black variety from pictures. Furthermore, you can know how bad the infection is from black toenail fungus pictures. Look at the photos online and compare your infection with the pictures you see. It is also important to look at melanoma pictures of toenails.

Pictures of black toenail fungus
Pictures of black toenail infected with fungus.

Although the pictures, give you an idea whether you have the fungus or not, only a doctor can determine this for sure by scrapping a piece from the infected toe and observing it under the microscope. The podiatrist can also give an effective treatment depending on the type of fungus. Fungi, Candida, and molds may cause different types.

Black Toenail Fungus Treatment and Prescription

When it comes to treating black toenail fungus, nothing works better than prescription medicine. However, it comes with its share of side effects. Therefore, you may require to have a discussion with your doctor and schedule tests to investigate how your kidney, liver, bone marrow and skin are doing while under the medications.

The doctor can also choose to give you a pulsed black toenail fungus treatment where you do not have to take the whole dose continually, but break on monthly basis. You have to follow the instructions and advice of your doctor while on treatment for it to be smooth. People who have had adverse side effects may not have kept their appointments with their doctors.

Furthermore, they have failed to reveal the other drugs they are using. Some black toenail fungus medicines do not work when you are on other medications. However, if you let your doctor know about what else you are using, he or she can give you a prescription that will go alongside what you are currently using.

The common oral medications given for black toenail fungus treatment include:

  • Terbinafine brand name (Lamisil)
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Grieseofluvin (Grifulvin)

These are taken for a period of 6 weeks to a year or a year and half depending on the drug. Black toenail fungus treatment of these oral medications also works well when you are using topical prescription medications such as:

Black Toenail Fungus Pictures
Growing black fungus on toenails.
  • Ciclopirox (Penlac)
  • Amorolfine (Locery)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Econazole
  • Oxiconazole (Oxistat)

These topical treatments side effects as well, you could experience burning, itching, weeping, stinging and redness among other symptoms.

If you are too scared to try the prescription medications, you podiatrist could suggest nail fungus laser treatment, which also has a success rate of 80%-90%. The other treatment is surgical removal of the infected toenail leaving room for a new and uninfected to grow.

How to Treat Black Toenail Fungus at Home

Treating black toenail fungus at home works for most people when the infection is still recent. This is how to treat black toenail fungus in the comfort of you own home. Soak your feet in warm water reaching your ankles, which should have ¼ a cup of vinegar added to it, or warm salty water instead. The soak will soften the brittle and thick nails. Clip them while still wet leaving only the uninfected part of the nail.

Dry your feet and toenails and apply any of the following:

  • Orange oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Snakeroot leaf extract
  • Vicks vapor rub
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Tea tree oil
  • Listerine
  • Oil of oregano

How to treat black toenail fungus using the above products requires patience and religious application. It may take weeks or months depending on the advancement of the infection.

How to Get Rid of Black Toenail Fungus

Getting rid of black toenail fungus is not easy if you do not change how you treat your toenails. For starters, how to get rid of black toenail fungus requires that you wash your feet and toenails regularly and dry them thoroughly. Use the heat from sunlight or a blow drier if you have to.


The sun will benefit your infection in providing the light the fungus cannot stand. On the other hand, a blow drier will dry out the moisture that makes the fungus thrive in your toenail. You may have to wash your feet and toenails every morning and evening before applying a home remedy or a prescription cream.

How to get rid of black toenail fungus also requires you to:

  • Not to wear one pair of shoes throughout the week, you should leave a pair for a day or two to breathe
  • Disinfect your shoes with sulfur powder to kill the fungus spores
  • Wear cotton soaks if you have sweaty feet
  • Wear open shoes to enable your toes to breathe, only wear closed shoes when it is necessary.