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Thread: Toenails

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Cleveland Ohio
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    1,141

    Default Toenails

    I sometimes have issues with my big toenails when I over hike. Doesn't seem to be a footwear issue but a pounding issue. Depending on how much I over hike, they either bruise (I assume this is blood clot on nail bed), bruise and develop a severe ripple in the nail, or fall off. Other than the "ewe gross" factor, I usually don't worry about it as the bruise or ripple works its way up with the growing nail or a new nail comes in if it has fallen off. I had thought it was just something that happened to my toenails, but a friend mentioned that it can be common to Marathon runners and that they sometimes have their big toenails permanently removed. He also mentioned that the nail can regularly become ingrown which might be why people have their big toenail permanently removed.

    Anyone else have these issues? May not be a problem for me now as I slow down with age (only seem to be able to over hike enough to bruise my toenails), but I am still curious as I expect there are a lot of people here that push themselves more than me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Columbus, Indiana
    Posts
    1,196

    Default Re: Toenails

    If your toenails are not hitting something they can't be bruised.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    322

    Default Re: Toenails

    I actually developed the same issue about five years ago--for some reason, my big toes really began to flex upward more with each stride and bang into the toebox. I ended up going with custom hiking boots (imagine a pair of fine Italian leather clown shoes) that give me enough room, but with my wading boots I use these "toe-caps" that seem to get me through the day on stream:
    http://www.zombierunner.com/store/ca...oduct1222.html
    Otherwise, I suppose it depends on how badly you get wooled-up initially, but I'd be a little cautious of infection if you're getting a lot of blood/fluid in the field. I've already decided that if I do get to the point where the nails are coming off again, I'm definitely going to have the nailbeds cauterized...it might make the impact of the toe and toebox a little less violent if the nail isn't there to act as a kind of lever on the soft tissue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Near Canon City, CO
    Posts
    6,461

    Default Re: Toenails

    I nearly always have toenails in some state of disrepair from running. Always on my second toes on each foot. I have mild mallet toe on them, and that contributes to the damage. I go through a cycle of blood blisters forming under the entire nail, a few days of pain and tenderness, and then once the blood blister hardens I'm in good shape. My most blissful running is during that time when my nails are black and hard! It's about a six-month cycle from start to finish when the new nail has grown in. Just a fact of life with me. Perhaps Ed T will chime in...he's nail-less, I think.
    "Me got no house; me all time moving; light fire, make tent, sleep; all time go hunt, how have house?"

    --Dersu Uzala
    Sihote'-Alin Range, Ussuria, 1902



    www.tenkaratracks.com
    http://fishrigs.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mohawk Valley
    Posts
    9,542

    Default Re: Toenails

    No similar problem but I have found that while conventional advise is to cut toenails straight across, when I do so the nails on my big toes begins to curl, the curls getting tighter as the nail grows. If I trim the nails in an arc - like my fingernails - there is no curl. Revlon makes toenail clippers with an arc cutter, like giant fingernail clippers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Near Canon City, CO
    Posts
    6,461

    Default Re: Toenails

    I'll also add this...shoe and sock design, and sock thickness can have an impact (no pun) on how much beating your toenails receive, as well as shoe fit (length). Of course hammer toes or mallet toes can be an exception to this and are something you may just have to deal with, outside of surgery for extreme cases. Thanks goodness mine's not that bad.
    "Me got no house; me all time moving; light fire, make tent, sleep; all time go hunt, how have house?"

    --Dersu Uzala
    Sihote'-Alin Range, Ussuria, 1902



    www.tenkaratracks.com
    http://fishrigs.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Helena, MT
    Posts
    1,297

    Default Re: Toenails

    I was like Sawtooth, I'd loose nails (usually the big toe and the 2nd on each foot,) six months later they would be grown out and I'd loose them again. I got tired of that and had them permentally removed, back in 1992 I believe. Best thing I have ever done for my feet!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,833

    Default Re: Toenails

    ^ Hm. I should do that. I've got some nasty toenail fungus from years of wearing rock climbing shoes in hot weather. I gotta use the Dremel to keep one of them trimmed. *That's* a job best done outdoors...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Cleveland Ohio
    Posts
    1,141

    Default Re: Toenails

    David,

    Ever though about laser treatment for the toenail fungus? They're advertising it here a lot (podiatrists mostly). Seems like it would be much less painful, although I don't know anyone who has done it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,270

    Default Re: Toenails

    @ mark s -

    Sounds like a classic case of your hiking boots being too small and/or your feet swelling a lot during your hike. Very common in people who hike or run long distances. Go up a full size in boots, or at least try to find a pair that has a significantly bigger toe box. I knew a guy who was an "ultra-marothoner" (where they run/walk/keep moving for 24 hours, yeah, crazy). He had the same problem due to swelling over the protracted times. He would cut the top of the running shoe's toe box off and run that way. Where there's a will there's a way, I guess.

    Take care,
    "Heal with steel"
    Buckaroomedic

    "Noli nothis permittere te terere."

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