Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: black toenails

Many times throughout my career as a podiatrist I've had patients come to me with big toenails that have turned black. Most often a black toenail is simply the result of nail trauma. The nail turned black because they're a runner or a skier and they wore shoes or boots that were just too tight. Or they loved to tinker with their car and they dropped a tire iron on their toe. Sometimes kicking a solid object too hard can also cause a blackened nail to arise.

But sometimes a black toenail can be the sign of toenail fungus or even worse, melanoma.

That's why it's so important to make sure to see a Seattle podiatrist if you notice your toenail is black or turning black.

Fungal Nails

Onychomycosis or fungal nails are a very common occurrence. In Seattle, our feet are covered in socks and shoes or boots most of the year. And many of us wear cotton socks that keep our feet slightly damp. This is the perfect environment for toenail fungus to thrive.

Some of us are more prone to nail fungus due to our genetics.

Runners and other active people also are at greater risk due to repetitive pressure on the nail bed which causes it to lift slightly allowing the fungus in where it can set up shop.

Fungal nails can be difficult to treat particularly if it's been a longstanding problem and the nail has thickened or the patient is immunocompromised.

It's best to get this condition treated as early as possible to ensure the best chance of success. Even so fungal nails can return just like a chronic case of gingivitis. Prevention is key for those who've had it by limiting their exposure--using socks that wick away moisture, alternating shoes on a daily basis, or using a UV light shoe sanitizer.

Melanoma

At worst a black toenail is diagnosed as melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma tends to grow very slowly so it's important not to dismiss it. In fact, melanoma is the most common cancer of the feet. Unlike our face which we look at every day, many of us ignore our feet.

When found on the feet there is a much higher death rate due to this cancer which can spread throughout the body. That's because we are more likely to find it when it's already too advanced to adequately treat.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
October 21, 2016
Category: Bunions

You're all about being proactive when it comes to buying products, particularly those that affect your health, like running shoes. After scouring the internet you've learned about the importance of bringing in your old pair to show your wear patterns, your usual running distance, where your foot strikes the ground, your foot type, and any injuries you may have sustained.

If you have plantar fasciitis or bunions, you may have also had orthotics made by your Seattle podiatrist. But there's one hack that can improve comfort even more.

The lacing hack!

Recently the Washington Post wrote an article on this topic focusing on how you can lace your shoes so that you can get better performance when you run and feel better too.

We found the website Katie Runs This to get the lowdown on the exact techniques you'll need for your foot type or foot problem.

Bunions and Wide Forefeet
Orthotics can help tremendously with correcting the biomechanics of your foot to offload your bunions but proper lacing can help even more. This specific lacing technique can widen your forefoot to accommodate the bunion. From the bottom of the eye row, lace up the sides of the shoe. You won't start cross-lacing until you reach your midfoot and then tying the top as usual.

High Instep
The runner with a high instep does the best in a neutral, cushioned shoe. In addition this lacing tip will help with your comfort and performance. This technique starts at the toe of the shoe with a cross-lacing pattern and then doesn't lace again until the top of the shoe. It provides the room you need at the middle of the foot and keeps the shoe from feeling too tight across the arch.

Narrow Feet
The runner with narrow feet in many ways has the opposite problem of the high arched runner. If you can't find a shoe that will fit snugly enough at the midfoot here is a lacing technique that adds a loop right where you need it. Crosslace the shoe starting at the toe and then create a loop that you will thread through it to make it more snug. Continue lacing as usual.

Black Toenail
If you have a tendency to get black toenails, you'll need to allow the material above your big toe to be pulled up and off of the nail when the outside lace is tugged and tied tightly. The special threading technique will accomplish this goal mentioned in Katie's website.

If you're experiencing pain when you run, you can try a new lacing technique but it's also important to see a podiatrist to ensure you get a full evaluation. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

More tips about running and your feet:
5 Tips to Keep Runner's Feet Healthy and Strong
6 Hacks To Prevent Running Moms From Foot Injuries
7 Ways Runners Can Safely Manage Type II Diabetes

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Photo credit: Katie Runs This blog