When I began seriously running a few years ago, I was amazed at all the cool things that came with being a runner. New shoes were now a necessity and discovering new music turned into my new hobby. I was more proud of my body because I was physically fit. All these things helped me to enter the amazing world of running. One new addition to my life trumped everything else: my new disgusting toenail.

It is not a surprise that runners have disgusting feet. Putting the weight and stress of continuously hitting the pavement causes feet to bleed, crack, and have aching pains. Toenails are especially prone to abuse as they constantly jam the inside of your shoe.

When I proudly showed my wife my black toenail, she immediately refused to sleep in the same bed as me. What I thought of a sense of pride, she thought was the most disgusting thing she had ever seen. A runner’s black and bruised toenail is a battle wound and proof of the hard work it takes to train and run long distances. Why wouldn’t you want one?

Subungual hematoma, or “runner’s toe”, can be caused by several different factors.

  1. Toenails that are excessively long can increase your chances of getting runner’s toe.
  2. If you constantly go on long runs or races, every step you take leads to an accumulative pressure on your toe. Running downhill can also build pressure as your feet slide forward, and increased speed causes your toes to bang against the front of your shoe.

Although runner’s toe can be awesome to brag about it can also become a health concern if not treated properly. A runner’s shoe is a disgusting and smelly place full of sweat and bacteria. These germs can increase infection in the toe and could escalate into something a lot worse if not treated.

If you want to avoid runner’s toe follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have well fitted shoes. Shoes that are too tight can smash your toes as you put pressure on your feet during many hours of running. Old shoes that are too loose allow your feet to slide forward thus cramming your toes.
  2. Cut your toe nails. Feet are often ignored because they are hidden behind socks and shoes. Long toenails increase the possibility of runner’s toe. Give your toenails some lovin’ and cut them at least once a week. I promise your feet will love you for it.

Visit a doctor if your runner’s toe becomes painful or doesn’t go away. Most people don’t understand the crazy things runners do. Proudly sporting your amazingly tough battle scars adds to the uniqueness of your runner personality. Remember to think about your health foremost, but until then, sport that ugly toe proudly!


By Nichols