milwaukee foot and ankle specialists logo
request appointment with milwaukee foot and ankle specialists
414.257.0676
SAME DAY APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE
WITH OUR MILWAUKEE, WI PODIATRISTS

How to Prevent and Treat Runner’s Toe

by Dr. Brant McCartan

It’s easy to pick out the runners come sandal season. Blackened, discolored toenails are prevalent at pools and beaches. Subungual hematomas are caused from downward pressure or horizontal separation of the nail plate from the nail bed. Luckily, these are not painful most of the time, but if they are, the slightest touch can be severe. Contributing factors are downhill running and ill-fitting (too small or too big) shoes. Hammertoes may be more susceptible, and runners with a hypermobile first ray may compensate with the lesser toes gripping the ground for support. Also, some runners toes are dorsiflexed, or lifted, during gait, and can catch on the seam of the toe box of the shoe.

How do you prevent runner’s toe? The answers can be simple, starting with proper shoe gear and nail maintenance. Nails should be well trimmed, and not left too long. If abnormal, they can be taped down during runs. A shoe that is too small will increase likelihood of the nail catching on the end of the shoe. Shoes that are too loose leave room for the toes to thrust forward and jam into the end of shoes. Before and after each run, shoes should be tied and untied – don’t slip them on and off. If you are between sizes, there are some lacing tricks such as using those top holes in shoes and lacing under the upper loop can help stabilize the foot and prevent forward thrusting of the toes into the toe box. This and others can be found on the AAPSM website. Lastly, avoid downhill running until the pain subsides.

Treatment for runner’s toe depends on if you are in pain. If you are in severe pain, the blood trapped between the nail and nail bed should be drained. If there’s concern of a severe nail bed laceration, or distal phalanx fracture, it may be beneficial to remove the nail and repair the nail bed. If it is not painful, it will heal on its own as the nail grows out (typically around one mm/month).

Sharing is caring!

This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.

WE ARE COMMITTED TO EARNING THE
TRUST OF OUR PATIENTS, COMMUNITY, AND PROFESSION.
For uncompromising excellence our foot doctors can start helping you in a few ways:
  1. Instantly download our free report: The Top 10 Things You Should Know When Choosing Your Podiatrist.
  2. Please contact us at 414.257.0676 with questions or to set up your initial appointment.
  3. Enjoy our gift certificate of $25 toward your first visit by filling out the form at the bottom of our website.
  4. Contact the office with questions via our online contact form.
see what our patients are saying
Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists of Wauwatosa, Oak Creek, New Berlin and Mequon, Wisconsin (WI) treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrists, Dr. Steven Waldman, Dr. Christopher Milkie, Dr. Brant McCartan and Dr. Lucy Meier can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our podiatrists, foot surgeons and staff of our Milwaukee area podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community. Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
milwaukee foot and ankle specialists on facebook milwaukee foot and ankle specialists on twitter milwaukee foot and ankle specialists on linkedin milwaukee foot and ankle specialists on youtube milwaukee foot and ankle specialists on google