Runners With Black Toenails

The holidays have come and gone, and now it’s time to get back on a normal routine. For runners, that means you are probably hitting the pavement again after an extended break. At least your runs are made more enjoyable with the great weather here in the East Valley of Arizona!

What is not so enjoyable is dealing with black or bruised toenails, also known as “runner’s toe.” This condition is especially common among long-distance runners, and is usually caused by the constant contact of your toe hitting the front of your shoe. The repetitive hitting causes a blood blister to form under the nail making the nail appear black. Since the blister can’t breathe, it ultimately takes longer to heal.

As for treatment of black toenails, it is best to leave them alone since the pain typically lessens each day. A new nail will ultimately replace the damaged one, so do not force the old nail off as that may increase some pain and prolong healing time.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent black toenails from happening to you:

  • Wear shoes that fit correctly and consider the “Rule of Thumb.” There should be a thumbnail’s distance between your longest toe and the front end of the shoe.
  • Care for your toes. Toenails should be trimmed even with the tip of your toe and straight across on a regular basis.
  • Give your toes time to heal. If you notice a blood blister forming under the nail, it is best to leave it alone. Depending on the severity of pain, it may be suggested to take a brief break from running to ensure it heals properly.

Runners, we understand the importance of keeping your feet healthy and strong. If you develop any black toenails, let us take a look and help you get back to running comfortably. Reach our office by phone at 480-963-9000 to make an appointment.

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