Running Bug Forums Injuries Black/Bruised Toenails

  • Black/Bruised Toenails

     Holly updated 1 year, 3 months ago 4 Members · 5 Posts
  • Holly

    February 28, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Not sure this technically fits under injuries but I wasn’t sure where else to put it! I seem to have managed to get 2 bruised toes from running (1 on my left foot and one on my right) that are causing me a bit of pain!

    It’s not stopping me running, but one of them looks pretty grim at the moment and seems to hurt when I walk… I’m not running massive distances the most I did was 10k last week which is where it seems to have happened.

    My shoes aren’t very old and they fit properly – i.e. not too big/small/tight/loose.

    Any tips on how to get them to heal and go back to normal? And any prevention tips for the future?

    Thanks 🙂

  • Vicky Pixi

    February 28, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Holly 🙂

    Black toe nails are pretty grim to look at it but the good news is, is that under the black toe nail is a healthy new one growing and when it’s ready the dead nail will fall off (or get caught on a sock and get pulled off)

    You can bath it in warm water to help sooth them, and if it’s hurting when wearing shoes, can you wear flip flops or a more wider shoe – not always possible with work i know 🙂 maybe add a paded dressing to it/them.

    The reason why we get black toe nails while running is down to when we run our feet get shunted forward into our toe box and that constant pounding bruises the nail bed..i know you say your shoes fit properly but when we run our feet get hot and swell so it’s recommended to go up half a size or even a full size in out running shoes.

    I personally go up 1 full size as i have fairly wide feet and I have never had a black toe nail in all the years iv been running.

    Hope they feel better soon for you 🙂


  • sharnie1

    March 4, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Think this is one of those things you either suffer from or don’t – I’m really lucky that my toenails are all nice and pink and healthy and I cover a lot of distance over all sorts of terrains.  I don’t subscribe to the go bigger in shoes philosophy as for me that exacerbates the problem as your feet can move forwards in your shoes and bash against the end of your shoes, particularly going down steep hills.

    You could try gel toe caps, or coating your toes in vaseline or massage wax so that there is less friction when there is movement, and simple things like adding a calcium supplement (with vitamin D and magnesium) may make the toenails more resiliant given time.  In the short term soaking the feet in hot salty water, with maybe a little tea tree oil? will help prevent any infection under the nails and will prevent any fungal nail infections developing which can make your toenails more brittle.


  • Richard Woodfield

    March 4, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    I’m sure it’s all about the detailed specifics of some combo of foot and toe shapes, running gait/posture, shoe length and width and lacing.  On my left foot I’ve constantly got in the range of 1-3 black/blue toenails, whereas I’ve never had the slightest problem with them on my right foot.  (Likewise, so far I’ve had several episodes of blisters on left foot but never on the right foot.)

  • Holly

    March 12, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks all for the replies! I’ve kind of just accepted them now! It’s my toes that are bruised and not actually black toenails, but they don’t hurt anymore and aren’t affecting my running so decided to just get on with it. Basically figured I can paint my toenails and then they don’t look so bad 😂

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