How to prevent runner's toe in 5 simple ways

Not the most pleasant topic - but extremely important nevertheless! If you are even semi- serious about running, it's likely that at least minor injuries will happen to you eventually, so why not learn how to prevent them? Today we'll start with runner's toe.

The usually exercise-related injury known as a runner’s toe is basically discoloration of the nail caused by the collection of blood underneath it. Simply put, the darker and blackened skin is caused by trauma and pressure to your toes.

It's likely to happen after a focused pressure on one spot on the toenail. This happens while running or while doing a similar exercise where rubbing against your toes takes place.

runner's toe


Other athletes such as tennis players or skiers often suffer from this injury too. The trauma of constant applied pressure and rubbing while running will eventually lead to ‘’bleeding’’ under the toenail.  Despite this, many people disregard black toes as a sports injury. However, they can be pretty painful and dangerous. The nature of it makes your toenails vulnerable to threats of infection. Given their painful and potentially dangerous nature,  let’s try to avoid them! Here are 5 strategies that will minimize the possibility of getting a runner’s toe.


1. Prevent runner's toe with the right shoes!

Get shoes that fit you perfectly, with some extra room in the toe box. In addition to having a great fit with some extra room, your running shoes should be also flexible to allow any additional movement. This will prevent painful rubbing of toes against the shoe while running.  


2. Take care of your toenails

Your toenails should be trimmed and regularly undergo all necessary hygienic procedures. This will not only decrease the chances of injuries, but it will also minimize the possibility of getting an infection.    

3. Avoid running with toenail injuries

Having an injury is likely to exacerbate runner's toes. This is especially the case if you see some discoloration already, or if your toenails are not trimmed the right way. Exposing too much of the tissue under your nail is painful and likely to cause more injury and infection. Running with toenail problems and injuries is to be avoided if possible.  

4. Check your running technique

It's also necessary to consider the way you run - your running technique. Especially where your weight is when your foot lands on the ground. Additionally, running downhill will also impact the likelihood of getting runner's toe. This is mainly caused by the angle at which toes rub against the shoe, putting it under more pressure.   

5. Tie your laces properly

In addition to some extra room in the shoe box, your running shoes should be also tightly laced up. Who would have said that tying your laces can prevent runner's toe, and not only falling over while running!? Try for instance the straight bar lacing technique which will remove the pressure from the top ridge of the foot. You can check out how to do it here. Many people don't focus on the way their shoelaces are tied, but the devil lies in the detail.  

Wrapping it up!

The techniques outlined above will give you a good starting point to prevent runner's toes. This is seemingly irritating and sometimes painful injury can develop into something more serious, therefore, it's not wise to ignore it. Or even worse, not trying to prevent it after reading this article.

Not getting hurt should be the main goal for recreational runners, who should take on every advice they can to minimize their chances of getting hurt while doing something they love. What is your experience with this injury? Is there any other way to prevent runner's toe? Tell us in the comments below! 

Related Posts