Black Toe Nails (both large toes)

Posted By
6/3/2013 6:30pm
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Replies: 8

I have two primary sites of melanoma, both of which have been surgically treated with MOH surgery and sutures afterward. I am almost a year since the last biopsy was clear to the margins.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I walked 5 miles in a Walk for MS fundraising. The sides of my pinkie toes were tender at the end of the walk. My walking shoes are about a year old and have been comfortable enough until that walk. My big toes did not feel tender at all.

A week after the walk, I notice that both my large toes' nails were reddish-purple.

This week that color has darkened to black on the right toe, and deeper violet on the left. The coloration is evenly distributed over most of my nail on each large toe.

There is no pain, no fever, no chills, no pressure and no effect on my walking.

Do you think I ought to see a doctor? Which doctor? I have a dermatologist or melanoma (stage 1 superficial) and my husband has a podiatrist. And we both have our primary care physician.

Thoughts? I'll probably start with my pcp.

Anonymous - (6/3/2013 - 6:38pm)

If you're thinking acral melanoma, I think that is very rare. . and even more rare for someone to have both superficial spreading and acral. . probably not that, but never hurts to get things checked out

I forgot to say, the melanoma sites are on my back near the shoulder, and on my forearm.

I am not perfect, but I am enough.

As the previous poster said, acral and cutaneous melanoma are 2 different things; I have never heard of anyone having both. And the fact that this discoloration occurred in both of your big toes simulataneously and immediately after giving your poor feet a pounding, sounds like bruising to me. If these are buises (aka hematomas), they will grow out as the nail grows; they will probably also turn black with time. If they are melanoma, they are in the skin under the nail and will not grow out as the nail grows. Certainly, if you are really concerned, go to whichever doctor you have that knows the most about melanoma. But if you're willing to be patient for a week or two, I suspect you will see the injured area start to grow out. Just be grateful that it doesn't hurt! smiley

Thank you.

I am not perfect, but I am enough.

Anonymous - (4/11/2017 - 2:40am)

Im having the same problems i walked 5 miles two weeks ago and both of my big toes are in pain, please note that I did have on the correct type of shoes and the shoes were not tight they were walking shoes I have noticed that both toes nail beds are lifting and the right toe nail bed has turned a dark reddish color the left toe nail has just lifted with no color. Therefore can you please tell me what this could be there's no more pain at this time?

Your odds on the toes not being melanoma are very high. Melanoma seldom starts high and goes low on the body. If you feel the need to see a doctor in the near future about it, I would recommend at least the dermatologist. (I have little faith in PCP;s for rare melanoma's.)

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

I'd give it a chance to heal.  If they are bruises, they'll improve in a week or two.  Acral is unlikely, metastases even more unlikely (in this location) and bruising is realistic.  If you don't see some improvement in a few weeks, then I'd probably see a podiatrist (my preference as they know feet better than anyone).  Go for the most likely explanation first, THEN look for zebras.  And too many things are more likely than melanoma here.

Best wishes,


It does sound like a bruise, especially since you just took part in a 5 mile walk. If you just want some relief for the anxiety you're feeling, do go see your primary and discuss this with him/her.

What you can to, is measure in millimeters how far up from the base of your toenail the mark starts and write it down. Measure it again in 6 weeks to give the nail some time to grow. If the measurement is larger then you're fine because it means the mark on your toe is growing out. A doctor will also want to see if it grows out so whether you see your primary or your onc, they're probably going to tell you to wait 6 weeks to see if it growns out.

Stage III, Unknown Primary; 1 positive node in left axilla