Running is a popular activity, especially as temperatures in our local Central Florida communities begin to cool down for the fall and winter seasons. This exercise offers many benefits, including enhanced cardiovascular performance, more restful sleep at night, and even stress relief. As with any physical activity, there is also a certain degree of injury risk, like the potential for black toenails. You can come see one of our podiatrists for professional treatment, if you experience this condition. But there are also ways of caring for black toenails at home.
When your toes repeatedly strike the front of your running shoes, the nails may become discolored from bruising or pooled blood (subungual hematoma) in the nailbed. Home treatment for this issue includes rest, soaking (we can provide instructions for optimal results), and switching to shoes with deeper toe boxes.
Perhaps the best home care for black toenails, however, is taking measures to prevent the condition from developing in the first place. To that end, there are two different shoelace tricks you may want to try with your running shoes.
First, instead of using the traditional crisscross lacing pattern, you should use a zig-zag pattern to pull the front part of your shoes up and away from your toenails (while still allowing them to fit correctly). If that doesn’t work, then you may wish to try using two different shoelaces on the same shoe. By using this approach, you can keep the bottom one looser—to prevent your toenails from hitting the shoe—and the top one snugger for the proper fit you need.
It might look strange to have two shoelace knots on each of your footwear, but the abnormal appearance will be worth it if they help you avoid a case of black toenails!
Keeping your toenails trimmed properly is one of the basic foot care guidelines you should follow. There are several reasons for this, including prevention of black toenails. Remember, clip them short, but not too short! (Roughly even with the edge of their respective toes is ideal.) As a bonus, this will also help reduce your risk of ingrown toenails.
For additional information on black toenails, or to schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists for professional treatment, give Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida a call at 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if you call from Lake County). You can also take advantage of our online form to request your appointment with any of our five offices – Altamonte Springs, Orlando, Mt. Dora, Lake Mary, or Kissimmee,—right now.