Should we see a podiatrist about a black toenail caused by neuropathy?

Tessa52 asked...

There is a 85 year old female with neuropathy that has a black toenail. What can I do to help this? Her doctor hasn't done anything, so we are switching doctors. Should she go to a podiatrist? Or will her new doctor be able to help her?

Expert Answer

Jane Andersen, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist in private practice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She provides surgical and nonsurgical foot and ankle care to all types of patients, including the geriatric population in her area. With the American Podiatric Medical Association, she has worked to educate the public on foot and ankle health.

Black toenails are usually caused by a collection of blood under the nail. If it's a recent event, the blood can and should be drained. If not, the black discoloration will slowly grow out over time.

She should absolutely see a podiatrist! Her podiatrist can confirm the cause of the discoloration. He or she can make the determination if the nail needs to be drained or removed, or if the situation can just be monitored.