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bruise under toenail

This weekend, I was removing nail polish that had been on my toenails for a few months and I noticed what looked like a bruise along the left side of one of my big toes. It appears to be under the toenail and not on the surface (picture attached). There is no pain and it is not tender to the touch. I don't remember hurting my toe recently, so I'm confused about why it would be bruised. I went online to see what I could find and found a lot of information about subungual melanoma and now I'm freaked out. Because I've had on nailpolish for a few months, I don't know when the "bruise" appeared or if it has grown slowly or quickly or at all. I'm a 41 year old caucasian woman with fair, freckled skin. I have had a few moles removed and tested, but have no history of melanoma.


What are the chances that this is melanoma? Is there anything else it could be? Should I get to a dermatologist ASAP?


Hi,
Before you "freak out" just go to a podiatrist and have a little bit of the nail cut away (it should be a painless experience) so that the discoloration can be examined. In the vast, vast majority of cases it is usually dry blood. (I know there is no history of trauma; it does not matter). In my thirty years of practice I have cut away a few thousand discolored nails and only once was it a melanoma.
But to give yourself peace of mind go have it looked at and do not put it off.
Marc Mitnick DPM

Comments for bruise under toenail

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Apr 24, 2017
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Can melonoma appear in day?
by: Mary

I have a similar but smaller, fainter discoloration, except it is more red than purple. Mine appeared overnight and I don't remember an injury. I had been trying on heels the night before, and my 52-yr-old feet have really never been in heels. Not even when they were much younger. They were open toed, so the nail really didn't make contact with the shoe. Could the bruise be from pressure? I'm pretty healthy and do not have diabetes.
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With most skin and nail lesions, they sort of appear out of nowhere. One day there is nothing, the next day you notice a growth or discoloration.
Most discolorations are nothing, but if you are at all concerned, see a doctor as that is the only way to find out what is going on.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Apr 13, 2017
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Bruises under toe nails from nail polish?
by: Your First Name

I'm 66 years old and about 2 months ago I polished my toe nails for the first time in my life. As the polished area started to grow out, I began to notice the little bruises on each of my big toes. I just removed the polish and, based on what I am reading here, I really wonder if there is a correlation between leaving the nail polish on too long and having this bruising occur. I think that, if I ever polish them again, I won't leave it on longer than a week or two.

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Nail polish does not cause nails to bruise, but may cause superficial nail fungus which will be a white discoloration in the affected nails.
The bruising more then likely occurred subsequent to the application of polish and only became evident as the polish disappeared or was removed.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Mar 28, 2017
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Toenail spot-help
by: Manya

There is this spot under my toenail which is very small and is red-purple-black shade. It did not pain at first but then I hit my toe to a wooden table and now it hurts. It's been 15-16 days since it has appeared. It hasn't changed it colour or size or shape yet but I'm freaking out that what it is. It looks a discoloured spot from far but when I examined with a flash light as I said before it was red-purple-black. Help me that should I freak out or if it's normal?
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In the vast majority of cases this type of discoloration is just blood underneath the nail, however, if the "spot" does not appear to be growing forward, then the smart money would be to have a doctor take a look at it.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Dec 01, 2015
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Toe briuses
by: Anonymous

I have bruising on both toes but after reading this I think it's from walking really fast. I just started exercising and my toe nails were a little long. I would think a melanoma would be on one or the other. Any way a couple of weeks will tell. I was worried about diabetes but has anyone read about that being a possible cause?

You are correct in that the chance of a melanoma occurring on two toes at the same time is very slim.
More than likely it is either fungus or some bleeding underneath the nails from exercise.
The bruising alone would not lead me to think about diabetes, but from a systemic stand point, if you are taking blood thinners or perhaps a lot of aspirin for pain, this could cause excess bleeding underneath the nails.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Oct 23, 2015
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Bruised toe nail zap
by: Anonymous

In my experiences. I had a dresser dropped on my toenail. (Big toe) and there was pooled blood underneath and they had to zap an electrical shock in the needle to release the blood flow. It worked perfectly and the nail regrew fine ! Good luck everyone!

Nov 02, 2014
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I have the same thing.
by: Diane L

I believe this is due to being on prednisone for me. I started with 30mg about 20 days ago for an acute Crohns attack and tapered by 5mg every 5 days and am currently down to 10mg. I keep my toes painted constantly and one of my big toes was extremely sore for no reason. I went and took the polish off to look at it and found I have a big bruise under each toenail of both my big toes. I have an office job and don't do anything there or at home that would have injured both of my big toes. I called my Dr at Carolina Digestive Diseases and first thing he did was ask me if I'd injured them. I said no. He said that easy bruising is common while on prednisone and even just snug pressure from shoes can cause this while on it. He said I could continue taking it so I am, but this bruising is going to take a long time to grow off :(

May 10, 2014
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Don't Freak Out!
by: Courtney

I'm surprised no one else has said this yet but, that painless, bruise-looking thing is usually a result of wearing the dark nail polish for such a long period of time. This used to happen to my sister's friend all the time because she would just keep layering on the dark polish for months and months. I'm not saying you shouldn't get it checked out... just saying that it's pretty common and I've noticed a lot of the comments mention the long term wear of dark nail polish.

Nov 08, 2013
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Brown color under toenail
by: Anonymous

I noticed the discoloration two days ago. Would not "rub off". Began to worry when WEB MD site told me I had a serious issue, and needed to "Rush into doctor immediately". Oh brother. I wear Open Toed shoes 100% of the time..and do not use public showers, etc.. Did not bump into anything. I'm glad to read the comments here, and thank you all. Well, this will cost me for doctor visit, etc... right before Xmas too, bummer.

Dec 31, 2011
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Mine disappeared afther a while
by: Edina

Mine disappeared in about six months. I freaked out first....was crying and sweating after reading all the symptoms of Melanoma. Also,
I did not remember hurting it either. I wore closed toe shoes but I did not remember that it hurt me.
I removed the nail polish and filed top layer of the nail a little bit (not too much but to clear yellowish color around the bruise. I wore open toe shoes (since we live in FL. and can get away with it).
It started to grow off in a couple of weeks but did not disappear for at least six months.
It is really recommended to go to the doctor because in the majority of the cases it is not Melanoma and they can put your mind to ease. If it is Melanoma the sooner they
diagnose it the sooner they can help you.

Jan 04, 2011
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Bruised toe nail
by: Edina

The same thing happened to me. Last night I removed my dark nail polish that I have been using for months now....and there it was. I am freaking out, too. Please let us know what happened when you went to the doctor.

Nov 27, 2010
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diagnosis
by: Anonymous

Just wondering what your diagnosis was....my toe looks EXACTLY like yours and I'm freaking out. I have an appt with a dermatologist in two weeks but I think I'm going to push the appt up!!!

Jun 08, 2010
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same thing
by: Anonymous

It happened when I wore a pair of shoes that were too tight. It goes away after a few weeks.

Jun 08, 2010
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Same thing
by: Jan

It happened to me after wearing a tight pair of shoes I don't often wear. It goes away if you don't wear those shoes again!

Dec 04, 2009
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update
by: Anonymous

Did you ever find out what happened to your toe? I just had the same thing happen.

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