3 Ways Runners Can Prevent Toenail Injuries

toenail injuries

For runners, toenail injuries come with the territory. While some proudly display them as a badge of their hard work and dedication, others prefer to keep their love for running a little more conspicuous.

For many people, black, missing or loose toenails are the price they pay for their marathon medals. The consistent impact of toes hitting the front of the shoe cause damage to the nail, which can result in blood pooling underneath the nail and/or blood blisters. This can be quite painful, and pressure underneath the nail can actually lift the nail from the nailbed.

If you’re an avid runner, here are some ways you can help protect your toenails:

  • Proper Shoes: One of the easiest ways to prevent nail trauma is to ensure you have properly fitted running shoes.  To insure the best fit possible, visit your local shoe store specializing in running to receive a professional fitting.  Overall, you want to make sure you have room in the toes, but not enough that your foot slides in the shoe. The associate will most likely ask you to jog around the store to watch how your feet land, as well as get your feedback on how the shoe feels.
  • Silicone Toe Pads: They can help absorb some of the pressure and shock from running, limiting the amount of force your toenail is subjected to. These are a great preventative step, but may not completely eliminate problems with the toenail. However, the silicone feels great during a run, especially if toenail pain has become a common ailment when you’re hitting the pavement.
  • Lacing Techniques: A lacing technique courtesy of RunnersWorld.com can help pull the shoe away from your toe:
  1. Thread one end of the lace through the eyelet next to your big toe.
  2. Pull the end of that lace up to the last eyelet on the opposite side, bringing the lace through to the outside.
  3. Leave just enough slack at the top to tie a bow.
  4. Take the remaining portion of the lace straight across towards the outside of the shoe and then diagonally up towards the inside of the shoe.
  5. Repeat until all of the eyelets are laced.
  6. When you tug on the outside lace, it will pull the material above your big toe up and off your nail.

To schedule an appointment to have your ankles evaluated by one of the highly skilled podiatrists at the Triad Foot Center, click here to request an appointment!

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