Black and Blue Toenails from Running
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Many Houston runners have been surprised to take off their socks after a run to notice that one or more of their toenails is turning black and blue. Many times the bruised toenails can look much worse than they are, but there is actually a simple explanation for this condition.
If you do not wear shoes that fit you properly then your feet are able to slide in your shoes. This can occur if running shoes are too big making your foot slide around in the shoe and hit against the front of the shoe. This can also occur if your shoes are too small since your toes will be jammed against the front of the shoe. This is why it is so important to get shoes that fit properly in order to prevent your toes front hitting the front of the shoe to hard.
If your toenails are turning black and blue from the toes hitting against your shoe while running, don't be alarmed. The color change beneath the toenails is from microtrauma under the nail where tiny capillaries have broken. If you notice this discoloration the best way to limit this is to stop running in the same shoes that caused this to happen.
Most of the time the discoloration does not cause much discomfort, however your toenail can become infected if it is not kept clean, so make sure you wash around the nail to prevent infection from occurring. Sometimes if there is enough bleeding under your nail, pressure can build which will cause discomfort. If the nail starts to become painful, then you will want to go to get evaluated by a Houston podiatrist who specializes in running injuries. The pain can either signify infection or pressure build up from bleeding under the nail, both of which can be easily treated by your podiatrist.
A bruised nail does not automatically mean that you will lose your toenail. If there is substantial bleeding beneath the nail and a podiatrist relieves that pressure quickly, then the nail can reattach to the nail bed. Otherwise, the prolonged trauma from the pressure can cause the nail to detach and a new nail to begin forming and growing. If that occurs, the original, damaged nail will simply fall off when the new nail has progressed. As long as the nail comes off with no pain or bleeding, there should be no concern.
Bruised toernails are a common sign of running shoes not fitting properly. If this occurs, get new running shoes fitted by a specialty running store. The stores, such as Luke's Locker and Fleet Feet, have staff trained to properly assess your needs to recommend the right shoe for you and to ensure that shoe fits properly.
If you have suffered a bruised toenail from running or any other sports, get it evaluated so you can relieve your pain and save your nail. Contact Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider at 713-785-7881 for an immediate appointment.
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