Sunday, February 2, 2014

One Disadvantage of Running

I have officially entered the realms of hard-core trail runners with my latest accessory, the to-die-for must have in the trendiest shade of bilirubin for running fashion victims around the world.  You guessed it, a black toenail.


I felt nothing during the Tussock Traverse 26km run, it felt a little bruised a couple of days later, and when I saw a tinge of purple peeking out from under my toenail polish, I removed it to reveal this shiner.  Jealous, no?

What to do?  My internet research (btw don't google black toenail images...) says either leave things to nature, or lance it.  I feel mine is bad enough that the toenail will eventually fall off, so in a vain effort to prevent this I had a stiff Chardonnay and lanced it with a sterilised needle.  This only involved 2mm of poking from the top end and I didn't feel a thing, but lots of serum flowed out and relieved the pressure.  I'll keep you updated ;)

Googling also reveals that black toenails are quite common among long distance runners, especially trail runners.  Here are some of the causes so you don't get one too.  After all, I don't want any of you turning up to the party with the same shade on your toenails ;)

  • Close fitting toe-box.  In your long distance/trail shoes allow plenty of room in the toe box for forward slipping when running downhill, and for swelling of the feet in the heat and over long distances.  Some people recommend buying a shoe 1/2 a size larger, I'm not sure I agree with this as it creates other issues (heel fit, flex , etc), I think buying a shoe that encompasses your toe spread is key.  I wore my Mizuno Wave Riders which are quite close in the toe box, although I have never had issues with them before.  My mission now is to seek out some dedicated trail shoes.
  • Tying laces too loosely.  Use a lacing technique to prevent forward slide on the downhills.  Again this is related to room in the toe box of your shoe, but I will experiment with this.
  • Untrimmed toenails.  Keep them short!  (I cut mine especially for the race a couple of days before.)  
More on topic links I found:

http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/toenail-injury-from-running/
http://www.lazyrunner.com/black-toenails

OK, that's probably enough.....
How was your weekend?
Have you ever had a black toenail?

6 comments:

  1. I have never had a black toenail from running, I have from stubbing my toe or dropping things on my toe, but not from running. Congrats on yours! :)

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  2. I've had numerous black toe nails after 15 marathons. I've had other toe nails fall off, but never the big toe nail even though it was black and blue. When the nails fall off, a new one grows back. Yours looks like many discolored big toe nails I've had that didn't fall off.

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    1. That's encouraging to hear Tina! It hasn't got any worse so I'm taking that as a good sign!

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  3. Good call on lancing it!! I bet you were much relieved.. The toe box and downhill running have been the cause of the two black toenails I have had. It's kind of scary to lance, but worth it.

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  4. Hope things are still going well for you , Sherry! Are the toes better?

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    1. Yes it's much better Raina - I think it's going to stay put!

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Thanks for commenting!

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