Runner’s toenail—or just runner’s nail—is among the great many injuries joggers may face while pursuing their passion or simply trying to get into better shape. If you have runner’s nail, you’re likely to notice some of the following signs and symptoms:
- A black toenail or toenails
- Mild to moderate pain
However, runner’s nail is often the sort of complication you’re more likely to see than feel. If you have it, you’ll almost certainly notice that one or more of your toenails has turned black.
Although this condition is usually painless, you may feel a dull throb or experience discomfort when your nail rubs against the inside of your shoe or other surfaces. In some cases, it may hurt.
What Causes Runner’s Nail
We can pretty fairly say that runner’s nail is often caused by running. The condition itself arises after the repeated stresses of exercise begin to damage the blood vessels feeding into the affected toe.
Over time, and without the right treatment, numerous tiny, barely-noticeable injuries and vessel breakages can culminate in a runner’s toe. So, even though runner’s toe may seem an acute condition, it’s actually the end-result of sustained damage.
Runner’s nail is, in fact, common enough that the injury has something of a reputation: many people consider their black toenails evidence of hard work and a source of pride!
Runner’s Nail Can Cause Dangerous Complications
While we aren’t here to admonish your commitment, you should know that runner’s nail can cause problems when it’s left untreated—and these problems usually hurt a bit more than the initial injury. They include:
- Blood blisters
- Even the loss of the nail itself
Ways to Prevent Losing a Nail
You can decrease your chances of developing runner’s nail by taking some preventive measures. You may want to:
- Consider buying new shoes, especially if your shoes are tight around the toes
- Keep your toenails trimmed and short in length
- Wear cushioned or thicker socks
If you’re a novice jogger or recently adopted an intense training regimen, you may want to scale back and take things a little slower.
When to Contact a Podiatrist
While you don’t ordinarily need to seek medical attention for runner’s nail, you should see a podiatrist if the condition keeps coming back. They can help you figure out the cause—and maybe get you into a pair of more comfortable, custom-fitted shoes. However, you must consult a podiatrist immediately if your toe begins to show signs of infection, such as:
- Sudden-onset pain
- Any other unusual symptoms, like a fever, which may accompany it
Either way, it’s worth considering that runner’s nail suggests your feet aren’t comfortable with the sort of exercise you’ve been doing. You don’t need to stop—and shouldn’t stop—being healthy, but you owe it to your body to figure out why.
Get Help Today and Stop Runner’s Nail Worries From Ruining Your Routine
If runner’s nail has been plaguing you with pain or simply causing an eyesore, reach out, give us a call, or send us a message today. We can help you resolve complications related to runner’s nail or other injuries, and we can assist in crafting a plan to make sure it doesn’t come back.