A dead toenail rarely denotes anything more serious than itself. While unsightly and often embarrassing, dead toenails can come about as the result of any
number of things. For all practical purposes, there are really only two that you should be worried about.
Injury – Runner’s Toe
Runner’s Toe is pretty common among athletes who work out all day every day. The repeated assaults on the nail bed result in swelling and bruising. The danger inherent with Runner’s Toe is that by the time runner has settled down enough to feel the pain, the damage has already been done. Since adrenaline is a pain-killer, the pain is masked until the adrenaline levels drop. Depending on the severity of the injury, the swelling beneath the nail bed might be so bad that it cuts off the oxygen supply and kills the nail. The nail will usually turn black and die.
There’s also blunt force trauma. This occurs when you drop something heavy on your toe or you get aggravated for one reason or another and kick a solid object, like a standpipe or fire hydrant. This can also happen when you stub your toe on a rock or the side of a door. When these things happen, the nail responds by going into shock. This kills the nail instantly. Over time, the nail will turn black and eventually fall off.
Toenail fungus is worth mentioning because many people wait until the last minute to address it. By this time, the nail has endured so much destruction so quickly that it may very well be dead and still maintain its color. This is the most common cause of dead toenails. Fungus can be cured, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Depending upon the severity of the infection, which is usually denoted by the degree of discoloration of the nail, it could take up to a year to eradicate it completely. This unfortunate reality can be frustrating for most of the estimated 30 million sufferers worldwide. Most sufferers are men over the age of 45.
Since nail fungus will not go away overnight, staying on top of it should be your primary concern. Have a look at our Treatment Guide for reviews and ratings on some of the most effective, and most popular, nail fungus eradication product currently on the market. These products are budget-friendly and available in most pharmacies over-the-counter. Regular soaks and generous applications of antifungal ointment per the directions on the bottle will usually yield an improvement within six weeks.