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Causes and Symptoms of Bruised Toenails

Tuesday, 18 June 2024 00:00

Bruised toenails, also known as subungual hematomas, typically result from trauma or injury to the toe. The sensitive nail bed can easily sustain damage from sudden impact or repetitive pressure, leading to discoloration and discomfort. Trauma, such as stubbing the toe or dropping a heavy object on it, can cause blood vessels beneath the nail to rupture. This leads to the accumulation of blood and the characteristic dark discoloration, usually dark blue or black. If left untreated, bruised toenails can lead to a spread of discoloration or even nail detachment, along with an increased risk of infection. Proper footwear, especially for runners, and caution in high-risk activities are key factors in reducing the likelihood of trauma to the toenails. Recognizing the symptoms of bruised toenails enables individuals to seek timely treatment, prevent potential complications and promote faster recovery. If you've experienced a problematic bruised toenail, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist for treatment. 

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Corinne R. Kauderer, DPM of Dyker Heights Foot & Ankle. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Brooklyn, NY and Old Bridge, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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