Causes And Treatment Of Black Toenail

Black toenail is a foot injury where there is bleeding occurring under the nail. It can cause pain and swelling. The nail will grow out in time. In the meantime, you will want to know what to do so you can keep on jogging.

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The actual cause is repeated or prolonged pressure on the toenail from poorly fitting jogging shoes. High-heeled pumps can also be a cause as they force the foot to the front of the shoe. If you must wear heels, then go with 1 ½ to 2 inches.

When you get this running injury on the baby toenail, your shoes are too narrow causing the toe to scrunch up against the side of the shoe. This is not as common as the next cause. You will need to buy new running shoes though to prevent this happening repeatedly.

It is more common to get black toenail on your big toe. It can occur even with shoes that seem to fit well. In this instance, what is occurring is that your big toe lifts up with each running stride, striking the shoe upper. You can feel this and it may not seem significant. However, as the miles add up, this repeated pressure causes a bleed under the nail.

To prevent black toenail…

  • Keep your toenails trimmed, but not too short.
  • Cut a slit across the nylon mesh where the toe makes contact. It damages the shoe, but does not wreck them. You may well have a problem of your shoes wearing in this area anyway; you are just taking pre-emptive action here.
  • Get new shoes that have an improved fit. You will need to jog around to check to make sure your shoe selection works to prevent this injury.
  • Alternate between two pairs of jogging shoes since each shoe has its own fit you would be rotating the pressure points of contact.

Treating Black Toenail

The bleed under the nail causes pressure and pain in severe causes. The toe may be sore and inflamed. This pain can be alleviated by relieving the pressure and letting the blood escape.

While training for a marathon, I had finished a long run with the sensation that my toe hurt. Sure enough, when I finished my run, the toenail on my right big toe was black. Not wanting to interrupt my marathon training schedule, I needed to relieve the pain.

I cleansed the nail with antiseptic. Heated the end of a large gauge sewing needed (a paper clip works too) and bored a hole through the nail with the red-hot needle. Blood came out and instantly it felt better.

The nail grew out taking several months as I recall. Depending on the amount of bleed and swelling, the nail may tear off along the sides. If this happens, it is quite possible your nail will fall off before growing out. Not to worry. A new nail will grow in its place. The nail acts as protection so I just let it grow instead of removing it even though it has an ugly appearance. Just think of it as your battle wound and wear it proudly.

It is important to keep the area clean particularly if you have broken the skin or through the nail. Keeping the toe wrapped in a padded band aide will provide a cushion against your work shoes.

Leave What Causes Black Toenail & Treatment? and go to Running Injuries


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