Dark toes

My toes on my left foot are turning dark,especially if cold. My podiatrist wants to put me on a vasodilator,but I want to talk to my primary first. Most of the time my toe looks normal. I have no issues exercising or walking. I have been woken up twice in the last month with leg cramps. I will have testing done next week. For now nervous as I have had no issues in 30 years. Nancy50


I find that magnesium lotion really helps tame occasional leg cramps. Hope you are soon able to get your toe problem resolved.


I think your podiatrist’s idea of restoring better blood flow to your toes is a good one. Hyperglycemia over time can take a toll on small blood vessels.

You describe your toes turning “dark” when cold. Is that color a dark blue or is it black?

What vasodilator drug is your podiatrist proposing? I’ve used a few different over-the-counter vasodilators over the years with some, but not complete, success.

I use a product called, Super Beets, a powder comprised of beets, a nutrient known to support the release of nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide is the signaling molecule that plays an essential role in the rhythmic squeezing and relaxing of the blood vessels. We naturally live with a degradation of nitric oxide as we age.

Cold extremities can also be caused by a low thyroid. Are you aware of any abnormalities in your thyroid levels? Successfully treating the thyroid, when needed, is something doctors find difficult.

I’ve read reports of people who use hot/cold therapy, like a sauna followed by a cold shower or even an ice bath, to good effect with blood circulation in the extremities.


I really can’t address the problem with your toes, but something that really works to calm muscle cramps nearly immediately is plain yellow mustard. It will not prevent them only treat them when in progress.

I learned this from a friend who is a daily swimmer. He would get terrible leg cramps in the night. He keeps packets of mustard on his nightstand.

I keep it in my diabetes go kit, for the occasional cramps when cycling.

The cramps and the toes may be caused by impaired circulation in your legs. You might seek a referral from your PCP to a vascular specialist. It may be that the vasodilator is necessary.

Considering that one of the complications, that our lovely diabetes :face_with_diagonal_mouth: , are circulation problems.

Thanks everyone, I do take thyroid medication. My last level was in range. I will see what my doctor says next week. Talk about a referral, good idea. I am waiting for a post visit review. Nancy50

Before I was diagnosed right and I was put on Januvia, it caused intense, very intense leg cramps at night. And it lasted for months after I stopped taking it. I used to keep a bottle of Hyland’s Leg Cramp Cream next to the bed. (very strong peppermint smell) I would use it before I went to bed and when I woke up with leg cramps. They were horrendous leg cramps. Taking Horse Chestnut daily which helps with leg cramps and blood circulation back then helped a lot too.

I now have spinal stenosis, so I can have a problem with circulation to my legs. I take magnesium daily, but I can still get leg/foot cramps while swimming or that night after swimming. I would assume it’s because of causing inflammation and inhibiting circulation. My feet are completely fine and still heal fine. Using a heating pad on it’s lowest setting the night after swimming has helped stop that. Of course heating pads are not recommended for diabetics. That could be specific to helping me because of the stenosis issue.

I also daily take ginger to help with circulation, tart cherry and turmeric to help with inflammation.


Some doctors (a minority, for sure) do not rely on thyroid TSH blood levels to determine treatment adequacy. Instead, they look to symptom relief as the definitive answer as to whether the treatment is working.

Your circulation complaints in your feet may have nothing to do with your thyroid. But then again, I’ve read many women complain about their doctors ignoring or dismissing their thyroid symptoms because their blood “was in range.”


@Terry4 Not only do they dismiss symptoms when you have “normal” levels, but the normal levels can vary a lot per lab or medical group. When I owned my store customers would bring in their lab results all the time, and the variation in the acceptable amount listed was huge. And there was also a difference in the doctors attitude about their levels.


I used to be a runner and I ended up with black toes one time.
I had hurt the top of my foot a few days before and it bled down through my foot to my toes and it caused that dark color, but it didn’t show anything at the top of my foot where I hit it.

Our bodies are weird sometimes. You might have had a bleed in your foot somewhere.

I had a nerve test and the doctor checked me for circulation.

I hope it is as simple as something like that for you

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Hello Nancy,
Diabetes affects the blood vessels that supply your fingers and toes. When blood flow is cut off, skin can be dry or shrivel, and the flesh can turn colors - brown to purple to black. You need to consult a doctor as soon as possible to prevent bad outcomes(

Thank you,see her next week. This was seen by my podiatrist who sent her notes to her. I will let everyone know what the results are. Nancy50


I second those that suggest Mg supplement for leg cramps, vascular health, and also a good nights sleep.
It could be bruising of your toes, and it can occur just if you sleep with heavy blankets on your feet. You may have shoes that press on the tops of your toes when walking.
A vascular center can test for vascular issues in your legs and feet by using dopplar ultrasound; simple and non painful.
A simple test your PCP can do to test for vascular issues in the feet is to press on your toes/toe nails until they turn white, then relieve the pressure and see how fast they pink up.

Saw my PCP ,she will reevaluate my toes on my next visit. The important thing is keep them warm and dry. I see my podiatrist in May. Thanks everyone. Nancy50

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