Treating And Preventing Black Toenails


Black toenails is the common problem in many runners and they are known as subungual hematoma. They are caused by blood underneath the nail and are most common in athletes who run a long distance on a regular basis. In fact, many marathoners wear them as a sign of pride. In order to learn more about black toenails treatment and prevention, follow these dos and don’ts.

Black toenails

Do: Wear the right running shoes

Most black toenails are caused by trauma to the toe caused by hitting the pavement with shoes that do not fit correctly. Therefore, you may need to buy a new pair of running shoes. Shoes should be replaced every 450 miles, and many runners are surprised at how fast the miles add up. In fact, most runners should consider buying two pairs of running shoes and rotate them out if they are wearing them daily as one of the main causes for black toenails is the moisture building up in the shoes.

wear shoesIn addition, make sure that you have shoes that fit properly. A major source of the trauma is the toe hitting the front of the shoe. Therefore, the shoe should be 1/2 inch larger than the front of your toe when standing. Make sure that you can put your thumb turned sideways between the front of your shoe and the start of your toe. Finally, make sure that the arch of the shoe still fits your foot.

Do: Wear good running socks

After you have secured the right pair or two of running shoes, the next step in preventing black toenails is to wear a good pair of running socks. A great choice in running socks is a pair of double layer socks. The layer against your foot is made of materials that will quickly move the moisture away from your foot while the outer layer provides extra protection against trauma to the toe.

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Do: Trim your toenails

Keep your toenails trimmed on a regular basis. The toenails should be cut straight across and come out no further than the end of the skin. This keeps the toenail from hitting the pavement while running. In addition, it keeps the toenail from snagging, which can cause trauma resulting in black toenails.

cut toenails

Don’t: Treat at home

Many people recommend sticking a sterilized pin under the toe and allowing the pressure to be released. This should not be done as it can cause further infection. In most cases, black toenails treatment does not need to be done at all, and the toe will heal on its own. If the black toenail is extremely painful, then see a podiatrist. Don’t treat the toe at home, as you can start a secondary infection, which may result in having the toe amputated.

Don’t: Run barefoot

There was a time when barefoot running was extremely popular, which is a bad idea as it increases the chance of black toenails. The toenails are more susceptible to injury when no foot covering is worn. Wear shoes that fit properly at all times, whether you are running or not.

Don’t: Leave untreated too long

If the black color covers more than 25 percent of your nail, then you will need to seek black toenail treatments from a podiatrist. The podiatrist may choose to remove the nail and clean the area very well. Sometimes the podiatrist may even be able to put the nail back in place. He may also choose to use a needle to make a small hole in the nail that allows the fluid to drain.

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Many runners have black toenails. In fact, many hardcore runners wear them as a badge of honor. Black toenails can often be prevented by wearing a pair of good running shoes and socks. In addition, fewer black toenails will occur if you keep the toenails trimmed straight across and short. In many cases, black toenails need no treatment, but in those that do, the black toenails treatment should be done at the doctor’s office and not at home. Black toenails treatment may include making a hole in the nail and allowing the blood to drain.

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