What Every Runner Should Know About Protecting Their Toenails

Running is an excellent form of exercise. It keeps your heart healthy, your muscles strong, and your circulation functioning properly. Unfortunately, running can also take its toll on your body, affecting your feet, your toes, and your toenails too!

At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center, our doctors understand the importance of keeping your feet protected when running. We see plenty of runners’ injuries every day after all. That’s why we’ve compiled this helpful guide, with tips and tricks on protecting your toenails while you run.     

Protecting your toenails

In fact, toenail injuries are one of the most common injuries that affect runners. Leaving a toenail injury untreated can lead to more serious problems down the road like fungal infections and deformities in your nail plate.

Find proper running shoes

When selecting running shoes, the first thing that you’ll want to check for is proper fit. You’ll want to pick running shoes that have enough room in the toe box, or the front. You’ll also want to make sure that your shoes aren’t so large that they move around or are loose on your feet.

Lace your shoes properly

You may have found the right shoes, but you might not be tying them on well. When tying your running shoes, you want to make sure that they’re tied snuggly enough to your feet that they don’t slip inside the shoe as you move. But, you still want to keep them loose enough so that you can still get proper circulation to your feet. 

Use running socks

Thicker socks provide your feet, toes, and toenails with more cushioning when you run. And specialized, moisture-wicking running socks help to keep your feet dry, which prevents the kind of slipping and sliding in your shoes that leads to toenail damage. As an alternative to running socks, you could also try wearing two pairs of socks when you run, for added protection. 

Trim your toenails

Properly trimmed toenails are particularly important for runners, as longer nails can increase your risk of injury. If you cut your toenails too short, they become irritated and can develop ingrowns, where your nails grow into your toe’s skin.   

Don’t pull your own toenails off

Finally, if you do happen to develop a toe injury from running, which is usually indicated by swelling, pain, redness, and bruising in your toe or toenail, don’t ever pull your own toenail off. When you remove your own toenail in an environment that isn’t sterile, you risk infection. So, it’s best to err on the side of caution and let us take care of it. 

To take care of toenail problems and other common runner’s injuries, call our offices, or schedule an appointment on our website today.  


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