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Dallas Podiatry Works

Ugly Runner’s Toe: Eliminating Black Toenails

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Start July 4th on the right foot this year by taking part in an event the whole family will enjoy—the Annual Liberty 5K, 10K & 1 Mile Fun Run in The Colony, TX. It’s a great way to spend the holiday, and keep everyone active too! If you are a seasoned runner, you have likely experienced the gasp from others upon seeing toenails that have turned black. Sometimes called runner’s toe, this is a commonly occurring injury that, while alarming and unsightly, is easily prevented.

Black ToenailsIf you notice a black toenail from running, don’t worry—your toe is not going to fall off. For those who have never had runner’s toe, the sight of it might be off-putting, but the discoloration is simply from blood pooling under the nail. It happens when your toe and/or toenail is under friction inside your shoe. In a tight sock or shoe, or when feet swell in warm weather, your toe can repeatedly strike the end of your shoe. Over time this trauma causes bruising or bleeding under the nail, also called a subungual hematoma. It can be quite painful when the pooling blood causes pressure beneath the nail. In severe cases it may be necessary to have the blood drained to eliminate the pain.

The best way to prevent this injury is to wear shoes with adequate toe room. You may want to jump up ½ size bigger than you normally would wear. Keep your toenails nicely trimmed, and choose moisture-wicking socks that will help your feet stay dry during a run as well as keep them from slipping around inside your shoes.

A bruised nail can take a long time to heal so use these tips to stay proactive and prevent runner’s toe. If this problem keeps returning, don’t wait to find out why. At Dallas Podiatry Works we can keep you and your feet in tip-top shape. Contact Dr. Joel W. Brook and David R. Northcutt in Dallas, TX at (972) 566-7474 or in Plano, TX at (972) 943-3323. 

Category: General

Dr. Joel W. Brook
Dr. Joel Brook is a board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Dallas Podiatry Works in TX.

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