Toenail Injuries in Runners

As many runners begin training for upcoming summer events, they may experience changes to their toenails.  These changes can include direct injury to the toenails where the nails become loosened or discolored.  Many runners experience black toenails which are known as a subungual hematoma.  This change is caused by pressure from micro-trauma in shoe gear.  This can occur when a runner’s toe repetitively hit in the ends of their running shoes.  Bleeding can occur under the nail which causes the nail to slightly elevate.  This can often be painful.

The injury to the nails is often caused by too tight of shoe gear or ill-fitting shoes.  The condition also results from a traumatic injury, from sports activities.  Prevention is simply purchasing correct shoes for your correct event.

Treatment options can include:   releasing the pressure under the nail by drilling a hole through the nail into the hematoma or by removing the entire nail. Removal of the nail is typically done when the nail itself is disrupted.

Subungual hematomas (runners nail) typically heal on their own, but patients must watch for infection or changes to the nail which may occur.  If you have had changes to your nails due to running, please do not hesitate to see us at Indiana Podiatry Group.  We can help keep your toes in shape while you get in shape for your mini-marathon! 

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