How do I prevent black toenails when running?

As with other aspects of running and injury, preventing black toenails involves your shoes. Since the injury often occurs because they are too tight, use these tests when shopping for running shoes:

  • Toes can lie flat

  • There is a half inch beyond your longest toe

  • They are breathable so your feet don’t stay damp and slide around in them

  • Make sure you can adjust the lacing for downhill running

Socks make a difference, too. They should be absorbent but not hold on to the moisture. What you want is a fabric that pulls the moisture away from your skin and disperses it out through the shoe.

As for your runs—training or racing—it may be best not to do long, high intensity workouts every day. The trauma can accumulate on a long or hard run and end up injuring your nail. Intersperse your high intensity runs with other types of training to let your tissues heal in between.

For more advice on training techniques or shoe choice, contact Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center in the west Denver area. Call (303) 423-2520 for an appointment at our Wheat Ridge, Golden, Evergreen, or Granby location, or request one online.