Black toenail/runner's toe - help!?

Hi everyone,

A week ago I went on a 4 hour flyer delivery around my neighbourhood, entirely on foot. Afterwards I noticed pain in my big toe but didn't see anything. Eventually a reddy purple bruise appeared underneath the nail, and it's been quite painful up until today, when it is quite bruisy and tender but not painful. But there is solid blackness creeping in from the side today, and I only just researched what the condition is - I didn't realise the blood was pooled between the nail and the skin, I thought it was a bruise in the skin like anywhere else on the body! And generally bruises look worse as they get better, but it's nothing to worry about.

The nail also is raised up at the tip of my toe, not separated from the skin but kind of like it is pulling the nail bed up a bit. A good 3mm raised I would say.

Should I see a doctor? The treatments sound unpleasant but I'm not sure if it should have resolved itself by now, by the tenderness disappearing or by the nail falling off, etc. I want to just let it grow out, but is it safe to wait and see how it goes? Sometimes there is a verrry slight pain when nothing is touching it, but not often.

Replies

  • CarsonRuns
    CarsonRuns Posts: 3,039 Member
    This is common for runners. It's going to grow a new nail underneath and the one on top is going to fall off.

    The most common cause of this is shoes that are too small. Most runners wear a running shoe that is a half to a full size larger than their street shoes.
  • Thanks Carson! I'm actually buying new shoes tomorrow. I don't run much at all but I walk a fair bit so I think I'll still go for extra room in the toes.
  • Gailbarrett
    Gailbarrett Posts: 4 Member
    I have experienced this after competing in a run / walk marathon I ended up losing both big toenails, but they grew back perfectly. What I did to avoid any infection was to pure Hyrdogen Peroxide on my toenails after each shower, and of course get bigger shoes.
  • I have experienced this after competing in a run / walk marathon I ended up losing both big toenails, but they grew back perfectly. What I did to avoid any infection was to pure Hyrdogen Peroxide on my toenails after each shower, and of course get bigger shoes.

    Thanks for the reply, so did you just lose them naturally, or get them removed? It growing out and falling off on its own I am fine with, but the idea of someone sticking a needle in it, or cutting it off... Ugh!
  • summertime_girl
    summertime_girl Posts: 3,948 Member
    My second toes are longer, and I've lost them several times after very long runs. It takes a few months though. And fortunately nail polish covers the blackness while the top nail is being pushed out, and a new nail is there before the old falls off.
  • EdTheGinge
    EdTheGinge Posts: 1,616 Member
    I had that for about 4-6months, finally had enough and pulled the nail off. It's growing back ok now.
  • LouSmorals
    LouSmorals Posts: 93 Member
    I see it as a badge of honor amongst fellow runners. I have about 1/2 of a left big toe nail right now.
  • _Zardoz_
    _Zardoz_ Posts: 3,988 Member
    I have about 4 partially black toenails at the moment and one toe that bleeds a lot. it's all part of running. Runners never become foot models

    http://www.runnersworld.com/photos/these-are-ugliest-runners-feet-youve-ever-seen?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-RunnerStories-_-UglyFeet
  • EddieHaskell97
    EddieHaskell97 Posts: 2,227 Member
    Time is all you need. Currently I have that on my big toe after I fell from hooking my foot on an uneven sidwalk pad... last autumn. I avoid nail polish and just go with shoes and socks.
  • My second toe is long....and curls, I have been losing those nails for years as I run, I was told its hammer toe, but hey, its only a toe nail! Keep Running!!
  • wolfsbayne
    wolfsbayne Posts: 3,116 Member
    When I began walking a few years ago, I'd gotten to walking 5 miles a day. This took me about an hour and 20 minutes to complete a 5 mile trek. I lost my middle toenail twice until I read that you should buy bigger shoes because your feet swell. Anyway, the toenail came off on it's own. The new one grew back just fine.
  • TRD66
    TRD66 Posts: 310 Member
    I lost four in one go the last time. Invested in a pair of blister proof socks as a result. Can't say the problem has been fixed forever, but it's not happened since. Part of my problem was the seam of the sock rubbing on the top of my toes.

    I've also been told that Vaseline will help and also someone suggested urine will tougher your feet.......haven't researched that one yet, prob not safe to do at work!!!!!

    Like everyone else says, they'll grow back, no biggy,
  • QuietBloom
    QuietBloom Posts: 5,414 Member
    Buy your running shoes in 1/2 size larger than your street shoes. Solves the problem wonderfully. :smile:
  • QuietBloom
    QuietBloom Posts: 5,414 Member
    This is common for runners. It's going to grow a new nail underneath and the one on top is going to fall off.

    The most common cause of this is shoes that are too small. Most runners wear a running shoe that is a half to a full size larger than their street shoes.

    Shoulda read your post before I posted. :smile:
  • emmy3111
    emmy3111 Posts: 486 Member
    I know this post has been inactive for a long time... but I have a question :) For anyone that has lost a nail/nails, did you have a lot of pain? I was rather stupid, and wore tight shoes while moving last week... both of my big toenails are black, bleeding, and very painful... any suggestions to relieve the pain?
  • CarsonRuns
    CarsonRuns Posts: 3,039 Member
    I know this post has been inactive for a long time... but I have a question :) For anyone that has lost a nail/nails, did you have a lot of pain? I was rather stupid, and wore tight shoes while moving last week... both of my big toenails are black, bleeding, and very painful... any suggestions to relieve the pain?

    You probably don't want to hear this, but to relieve the pain and pressure, you can lance down through the nail, near the cuticle, with a sterile needle. This will allow the blood to come out and relieve the pressure. This is what a doctor would do.
  • emmy3111
    emmy3111 Posts: 486 Member
    I remember my Dad doing that to my sister's fingernail after she squashed it when we were kids... worth a shot, at this point, I think. Thank you!
  • SueInAz
    SueInAz Posts: 6,585 Member
    I'd think something like that might be best left up to a doctor or at least a nurse practitioner at a local urgent care or "Minute Clinic." I get black toenails all the time from running (usually my second toe which is my longest) and they usually just grow out over time. If they're bleeding I'd want someone to take a look at them. As my sister's bumper sticker says "Toenails are for sissies."