Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Black toenails again…

Posted by bunchgrasser on October 29, 2009

I’m currently sporting two black toenails again (courtesy of my last marathon in early October). I realize I’m not alone in the running world when it comes to this particular affliction. Judging by the many, many questions about it that I saw on various forums and websites – it seems to be a common problem.

I was actually searching online for ways to prevent black toenails, but every site seemed to mention the same things over and over again: buy your running shoes a size larger to prevent your toe from hitting the end of your shoe, tie your laces tight to keep your foot from slipping forward, etc. These suggestions are certainly good advice – but I’ve been doing them for several years and they haven’t prevented my black toenails at all. So, I’m left wondering…what am I doing wrong?

I’ve tried all kinds of preventative measures, to no avail. Taping my toes, thin socks, thick socks, two pairs of socks, massive amounts of Vaseline or BodyGlide. But alas, so far – no relief. I’ve also consciously monitored my toes while running to make sure they are not hitting the top of my shoes (they aren’t).

My latest idea was silicon toe caps, which seemed like a surefire winner. And, I believe wearing toe caps on each of my big toes would have solved my problem, except for one small issue…once my feet became warm and moist from running, the (now sweaty) toe caps just slid off the end of my toes and formed a lump in the ends of my socks. I tested these toe caps on two separate runs (different days). Regrettably, both toe caps slipped off of my toes between mile 4 and mile 5 on both days. I suppose I could try taping the toe cap to my toe – but I’m not too excited about that. At some point, the preparation time and effort of going for a long run becomes too much of a hassle. I’m deeply envious of those who just throw on some shoes and go for a run.

For lack of a real solution to this problem, I’m starting to resign myself to the idea of revolving, colorful toenails. Maybe I’ll paint them over with black toenail polish (midlife crisis?), or have the nails permanently removed (seems a little harsh). I guess there is always the “badge of honor” thing. If anyone has solved this problem or has any (new)  suggestions please feel free to comment.


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