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Unexplained bruising on big toes.

by Paula
(Pass Christian, MS)

Notice bruise starting on right foot as well.

Notice bruise starting on right foot as well.

A few weeks ago I noticed a small bruise on the left side of my left big toenail. I have not injured it in any way and nothing has changed shoe wise. I kind of blew it off and figured I must have forgotten about hurting my toe. However, today I noticed another identical bruise starting to appear on the right side of my right toe. A mirror image of the left. There is some tenderness when touched. What could be causing this? I have attached a picture.


Hi Paula,
In most cases the discoloration seen underneath the nail is bleeding as a result of what I like to call micro trauma, such as from running, or working out, or some other repetitive motion that eventually irritates the nail bed.
In very rare instances it can also represent a growth on the nail bed.
Keep a very close eye on it. If the discoloration continues to grow forward you are probably ok, if it stays in one place over the next month or so, see a doctor and let he or she determine whether or not the nail bed (the skin under the nail) should be examined.
Marc Mitnick DPM

Comments for Unexplained bruising on big toes.

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Oct 01, 2017
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Exact same thing
by: Rachael

Ike most of you here I noticed a bruise under my left big toenail, didn't think much of it and didn't hurt myself, now I've noticed I have a mirror bruise on my right big toenail today which I find odd cause it wasn't there yesterday. I find it weird & have no idea what's caused this. I am currently on blood thinners & have been for 4 months. Just wondering if this has caused the bruising? As I've read in some of the comments that blood thinners could be the cause? Hoping they will disappear!

Jul 21, 2017
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Bruises Painful Big Toes
by: Discouraged

Hi,

I have had similar issues in the past. However, last weekend I went on a hike and I may not have been wearing the most ideal shoes. By the end of the day both my big toe nails were very painful but they looked ok. It has been 5 days now and the pain is getting worse (on my left foot the pain is spreading up my toe towards my foot) and I have developed bruising on both big toe nails. I can't wear shoes as any pressure is too painful, I'm not sure what to do.

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Why not see a podiatrist who will alleviate your pain and give you guidance on how to avoid this problem moving forward.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Apr 26, 2017
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Mirror Image Bruising - Big Toes
by: Raine

Same issue with me! It's been 6 mos. since this 1st happened & I can see that some bleeding since taken place. I haven't had an injury but I DID experience Altitude Sickness when this 1st began. Talk about the 'Nose Bleed Section'! I was in Colorado vacationing when this 1st happened. -However- During my visit there I also experienced a near fatal drop in my Blood Pressure. This drop in BP has happened several times since then. With this being said, I'm thinking pooling of blood from lack of circulation. I also have horrible swollen feet/ankles often. They were swollen when this occurred the 1st time. I am also -very- susceptible to fungal infections & have been fighting M. Fur Fur for 5 yrs. now. (This after 30 yrs. of living with Tenia Versa-color. I was able to rid my body of the Tenia back in `98. I have Lupus & it's a part of my illness) There was a slight fungal infection in one of the toenails 2 yrs. ago so I've been treating it as if it's Fungal as the nails thickened & yellowed. Also very brittle. I guess it's time to break down & get myself back in to see a Dr.!!

Jan 20, 2017
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Tea tree oil
by: Karen

I had bruising on left big toe, thought it might be fungus, read that fungal treatments are harmful to your liver etc, so put neat tea tree oil nightly for a week. Stunning result. No trace left of blus and the nail is growing out nicely! It has now come out on the right toe so I'm going again! Highly recommend tea tree for anything fungal, viral or bacterial, but it's strong so be careful on sensitive skin. You can mix it with another oil to make it weaker.

Aug 22, 2016
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Long time sufferer of black and blue nails and FUNGUS CURE
by: Jeanette

About 20 years ago, I started occasionally getting black and blues under BOTH of my large toes. Mostly at the corners (not at the base). Recently, however, it was a thin line of black and blue at the base of one toe. This usually occurs during the summer, which is really strange, because I often wear sandals, and NONE of my shoes or sandals is tight. It takes several months for the black and blues to disappear. I haven't had any trauma to my toes, and I don't take any medications that should cause this symptom. This has been a mystery to me. Thank goodness I don't have toenail fungus.
I recently began taking fermented apple cider vinegar in a daily tonic. I read in the Bragg's book about ACV that a few drops a day on a fungus-infected toenail would kill the fungus.

May 09, 2016
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Bursitis and bruised toenail for no apparent reason
by: L.C.Anonymous

I also have a bruised big toenail on my right foot. I've developed bursitis of my right ankle prior to noticing the bruised toe. My toenail does not cause me any pain, but my ankle and tendon do. My heel has been swollen for at least six months and continues to do so. I noticed heel pain last spring during my line dance class and it's progressed to what it now is. I've tried castor oil packs, chiropractor intervention, acupuncture and chineses soaking tincture, ice packs, DMSO packs and now I'm going to try orthotics. I'm so frustrated as to how to remedy this problem as its really affecting my mobility.
Any suggestions ?
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Why not see a doctor who specializes in the foot and ankle such as a podiatrist or an orthopedist.
Marc Mitnick DPM

May 06, 2016
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Nail Fungus
by: Anonymous

I don't know if I have nail fungus...no brittle nails, no yellowing and no marks on my nails...but what can you apply on the nails to make them clearer, healthier looking? At the end of my nails (toes) when the tips they look a tiny bit fragile...like old and cracked...what would anyone recommend applying? I file them and keep my toe nails very short.

May 06, 2016
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Mirror bruising also
by: Anonymous

My big toes also have mirror image bruising. I had pedicure at one of those "places"..in the first week of Nov2015... On Christmas Day I sat hard on my tail bone causing much pain..About a week or two later I removed nail polish from Nov pedicure that exposed the bruises so nice big toes.. I knew I hadn't changed shoes or hurt my toes.
Well now I went to a new primary Dr and she said "That's from toe nail fungus." I had been starting to notice my nails looking more dry and brittle. Besides the bruising.... Dr said the only medication that has been successful in killing fungus was Lamisil... She said could cause liver damage, so I'm trying some essential oil such as Lemongrass, Tea tree,
I'll put a follow up here if results are favorable....

May 04, 2016
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My Nail
by: Robert

Can I add a pic of my toe in this response?




Only if the screen gives you the option to add a photo.
You cannot just send an attachment.

May 03, 2016
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Toe Nail Bruising
by: Robert

I get bruising on the outside of my big toe and my next toe next to the big toe bruising of the whole nail. I wear a size 11 and I have room in my shoes but what I feel is like my toes curving forward digging in and the pressure is causing my toe nails to bruise. Does anyone know what I can do to prevent my toes from curving or would getting arch supports from "good feet store" help prevent my nails from bruising? I almost wanted to ask if surgery to straighten my two second toes is an option...I hate it when they bruise cause then I can't wear flip flops in the summer...and remedies out there?
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The first thing I would recommend is keeping your nails cut as short as possible, that will help prevent them from getting lifted up and causing them to bleed underneath.
Secondly, I would have a shoemaker, or you could probably do it yourself, add a cushion under the tongue of your shoe, this helps prevent the foot from sliding forward in the shoe and damaging the nail.
Although an orthotic may help, it might be a problem in your existing shoes as the orthotic takes up space in the shoe and may create more pressure on your nails against the shoe. So you would probably need a longer shoe.
You could always consider surgery, but it seems to me that there are better options available. In my opinion, surgery seems a little extreme for your particular problem. What happens if you are left with unsightly scars on your toes?

Marc Mitnick DPM

Mar 23, 2016
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Hello
by: Anonymous

Can any of you list your medications? My mother had this exact same thing happen around the exact same time frame. This is just too much coincidence!!

The two most common causes of bruising (bleeding under the skin or nail) is from trauma to the toe and those who are on blood thinners. That group would also include those who take a lot of aspirin and anti-inflammatory medication on a regular basis.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Mar 07, 2016
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QUESTION TO PAULA
by: Anonymous

Hi Paula I am having the same exact issue i noticed a bruise on my left toe and know it has mirrored on my right toe very odd did you ever figure your cause

Feb 24, 2016
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Same here!
by: Anonymous

I only have noticed this myself, after removing my nail polish.
I am on my feet all day and most of the time when i am home as well..great to hear the advice on here, and i will be heading to my gp, just to make sure that there is nothing wrong with my circulation, as diabetes does run in my family.

Jan 29, 2016
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Purple spot beside big toe not on toenail
by: Stacie

My big toe has a purple spot right beside it on my left toe. It doesn't hurt I have had it for at least a month or two. Diabetes runs in my family. I don't have it but could this be a sign? Should I be worried?

Nov 09, 2015
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Bruising to left big toe and second toe on right foot
by: Anonymous

Hi
It was interesting reading these posts. My left big toe started going a black/blue colour about 12 months ago and now nearly covers it, it is growing out but very slowly and I keep traumatizing it with exercise, my nail on my right foot is also black in colour, but it's the one next to my big toe. I spoke to my podiatrist and he said I walk with a big stride and my toes must point up in my shoes as I do. I have tried to adjust my stride but obviously it's very hard to change, he said it's the pressure from my walking/exercise shoes , he has showed me a way to lace my sports shoes which takes some of the pressure of the toe area, he also suggested getting fitted for new sand shoes that may be a bit wider in the toe area. I too have lower back issues and have had disc issues in my neck as well which causes pain down my right arm, have had surgery for my back. I exercise to keep pain in these two places at arms length. My toes do get sore though if I bump the tips of the nail downwards. My sports physio reckons I have feet of a marathon runner as he has seen a lot of bruised toes.

Nov 04, 2015
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Me too!
by: Jo Dec

I'm glad that I looked this up too now. A few months ago I noticed the exact same mirror bruising on both big toes and put it down to the new shoes I had worn, as even though they were flat, ballet style, I had walked quite far in them. I didn't worry about it, as I could see it was growing out with the nail, but then around 6 weeks ago, my right toe had a new bruise in the same place. Again, I ignored it, but now both toes have new bruises again, before the old ones have even got to the top! I do walk quite a lot for work, but maybe just a mile or less at a time. I did have a neck injury which landed me in hospital in January and I noticed that someone else commented about their back? I walked for an hour every morning before I hurt my neck and never had anything like this, so could it be connected to the injury? I still have radiculopathy and nerve damage to my left arm and take Pregabalin occasionally for pain. I'm just curious, not worried.

Oct 15, 2015
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Diabetes
by: Anonymous

Diabetes also has this common symptom of bruising that often begins with the big toes.

Aug 27, 2015
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Toes bleed
by: Anonymous

I too have this issue. Mine started after a back injury in the nineties. It continues several times a year. When I have severe pain in my back I know in a week or so I will have toe soreness and then swelling with blood and clear fluid. I have had it happen without back pain. Six weeks ago, my right toe swelled so much that I had to use a sterile needle to release the pressure. Left toe was almost as bad.I talked to pain specialist's, they knew nothing about it. I've asked my primary doctors over the years, none of them seemed concerned or knew why. Something is causing this.

Aug 22, 2015
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snap..bruising on big toes
by: Nik

Just thought it was my feet being weird.
I too have busing on outside of my big toes.
I vary my footwear most days do not go to the gym.
I have not dropped anything on my feet .
I am on my feet all day for my job and even stand a lot at home and have done so for many years then 2 days ago i suddenly had bruises.
I started taking an anti-anxiety pill 2 months ago and wondered if it was some unknown side effect ?


Jul 23, 2015
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Omigod!! Me too!!
by: Anonymous

Boy - is this one time I'm glad I googled. Noticed some bruising as my toenail polish grew out so I took off the polish today and found mirror image bruises under the nail on both big toes. Could not imagine how that occurred since I don't remember dropping anything on my feet and when I googled "mirror image bruising on both toes" I found this thread. Who knew it was a sports injury? In fact I've been much more diligent recently about the gym and the elliptical machine. Hoping that is all it is. Will keep an eye on it.

Jul 16, 2015
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Bruised right hand side of large toenail
by: Nicky

Hi there I go to the gym about 4-5 times a week and have been doing so for about the last 2 years. About 2 months ago when taking off nail polish I noticed that there looked to be bruising underneath my nail but didn't remember hurting it. I still have it and wondered if it is common to take a while for this to dissapear. As I have had shellac polish on since them I can't really remember if it's got bigger but I'm sure it has spread more up towards to the top of the toe, but it still clearly at the bottom too.

Jun 25, 2015
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bruise on toe
by: angela

I have same bruise on right side of right big toe it does worry me now as there is a line across middle of toe also as someone else described. So do I wait and see if it grows out or get it checked out now
? It does not hurt and have not injured it

RESPONSE
If the discoloration is very recent, you can wait a month or two to see if it grows forward. If it has been present for some time and has not moved, then it would be wise to have a doctor look at it.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Jun 21, 2015
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Same problem no solution
by: Anonymous

Hello i have the same problem with both of my 2 big toes. I started to notice one day I was showering. At first I thought I might smash it since I went out but then I started to realize I didn't do anything bad to harm my toes. Months pass and it just got worse to the point where my toe nail was falling off and still brusing. I went to the doctor and he didn't find nothing wrong. He suggested going to a foot doctor. But now I'm worry more since my boyfriend woke up two days ago with the same issue. My mother in law keep saying it's fungus under toes? I doubt it's fungus

Jun 18, 2015
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Same thing....
by: Anonymous

I'm so happy I googled this, because I just found the same thing as well. Same circumstances to, just having joined a gym and trying to work out hard. That might be the cause of it all… Not so great when you don't have a Health insurance and can't just run to the doctors.

Jun 17, 2015
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big toe nail
by: angela

I had a bruise appear from no where also on big toe. Right hand side towards the top. Now as it's growing there seems to be a line acroas the centre of the nail. I didn't hurt the nail so all abit odd.

RESPONSE

If the discoloration fails to grow forward you would be smart to have a doctor take a look at it to make sure you do not have a growth on the nail bed.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Jun 07, 2015
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so strange
by: Amanda

Approx. 3-4 weeks ago I felt a bit of pain in my fit when I would flex my toes. I didn't think anything of it since I live a relatively active life (jogging/hiking often). Yesterday I removed my nail polish to change the color and I found a bride covering nearly 80-90% of my right big toe. When I trimmed my nails I found the bruise was growing up with my nail since I small portion was now visible outside if the nail. Being the picker I am I tried to remove the portion of what I thought to be dried blood. However I actually popped the "cavity" (for lack of better words) and actually quite a bit of blood came out. At first it appeared to be old blood since it was dark in color but then it was fresh red blood. And if I applied pressure I could actually hear air being pushed out which makes me think the blood was being stored in a dirty if large cavity for the area. Fresh blood and plasma is STILL coming out. Has anyone had anything similar? I'm concerned since I had no actually trauma like dropping anything on my foot or subbing my toe and since the blood soars to be fresh.

RESPONSE
Your problem is actually quite common in active individuals. Without trauma, per se, you more then likely damaged the nail by the simple repetitive trauma of walking, particularly if the nail is too long or if you happen to run/hike down hill quite a bit.
If you had as much bleeding as you state, it would not surprise me if you eventually lose the nail. A new one will grow back, but you need to be careful of a fungal infection developing underneath the nail.
For now, you want to prevent infection. You might consider soaking the toe in salt water a couple of times a day for around 15 minutes or so. This will dry out the remaining blood.
You would then apply an antiseptic like neosporin or bacitracin on the nail bed, cover it with a bandaid. Do this for about one week, so that everything can dry out.
If for some reason, the wound continues to bleed or you notice pus, then I would recommend seeing a doctor.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Apr 06, 2015
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Same bruising
by: Amber

Hello, just within the last couple of weeks I've noticed the exact same thing. Inner side of both big toes. I wanted to see if I could find anything online b4 I called my doctor. My circumstances are, I started working out regularly about 6 months ago, & specifically the recumbent bike regularly (3 times a week) for cardio, & that's when I noticed the bruises. After reading some of these posts, I'm thinking they are related? I have no obvious pain really, but was told by a friend it may have something to do w/ the constant force of me pushing the peddles?

Mar 20, 2015
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Same thing
by: Anonymous

I am only 21 and I have this same problem. I wonder what it could be. I did nothing to harm the toes?

Oct 09, 2014
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unexplained tie bruising
by: Anonymous

I experienced sudden onset pain and bruising of my second toe. It happen when I had been relatively bed bound with pneumonia at home. I was taking prednisolone and asthma meds and steroid inhalers. I did a bit of research and the blood thinning effect of the steroids plus a lower immune system can cause a spontaneous bleed under the toe nail. I had not dropped anything on it either or stubbed it. Unless walking around the house did it but only if I was at risk. I have lost the toe nail now with the new one growing back and appears healthy. There was a lot of pain when it first happened throbbing. The bleeding started close to the cuticle section

Jan 10, 2014
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I too have the same symtoms
by: Anonymous

This has happened to me a year ago, and again this year. I did nothing to hurt my toes, I did not jam it, and I am not active as of 3 months ago. My shoes are not the cause either. I did have my toe nail removed the first time this appeared to find out nothing is wrong underneath, all tests came back clean.

I believe it could be a blood disorder, or signs of something else. Has anyone else found it to be something more than the suggestions given so far?

Thanks!


Although trauma is usually the primary cause of discoloration under the nails, and when I say trauma, I mean "micro trauma", essentially the rubbing of the shoes on the nails on a day to day basis.
However, for those of you who may be on blood thinners, this too may cause discoloration under the nails in the form of bleeding.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Dec 30, 2013
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bruising on other toes
by: Anonymous

My bruising is on toe next to big toe and toe next to little toe. Doctor said it they are being bruised by me wearing the wrong shoes outside while I'm doing my yard work. I have to put lots of padding around toes before I can wear a good walking shoe. Has anyone ever heard of this.

Nov 08, 2013
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Me too...same thing...
by: Anonymous

Same for me..it is like a mirror ut my right foot's big toe was first..Maybe it is due to age and I have been wearing flip flops more (because I really wasn't a flip flop person) and I'm in my lower 30's. However, I do take Viibyd which can cause easy brusing...I don't want to discontinue my medicine because it is helping me emotionally..My big toe is much longer than the other toes, and I feel my arch is decreasing with age. I think we all need to admit it and just get bigger shoes..I'm now a 10 instead of a 9.5.

Thank you,

Jun 04, 2013
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Experiencing the EXACT same thing
by: mtphillips

I was searching online for an explanation of bruising under the toenails of both of my large toes and found this post. I am experiencing the same issue, even to the location of the bruises on both toes. The bruising on the left side of my left toe is more pronounced than this picture, but otherwise, it's the exact same thing. I've not dropped anything on my toes or changed shoes, either.

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