No More Dark Spots: Preventing Black Toenails

by | Oct 26, 2016

Surprise dark spots on your body can be a bit concerning and embarrassing. You’re left wondering where they came from, how you got them, and how long they will look that way. Athletes are pretty familiar with bruises they didn’t know they had, but when those dark spots are in odd places, it can be confusing and embarrassing. That’s often the case for athletes and runners with black toenails. The good news is that these particular surprise injuries aren’t inevitable. You can take steps to prevent black toenails from developing.

Black toenails are fairly “normal” for runners, particularly distance runners, because it’s far too easy for toes to repeatedly bump the inside front of your shoes. Over time, this repetitive nail bashing causes blood to seep from the nail bed, staining the keratin dark. Sometimes the blood can even pool, creating a painful pressure pocket. In any case, black toenails are unsightly and can be quite uncomfortable.

Preventing them, however, can save yourself discomfort and embarrassment.

Preventing black toenails means protecting your digits from getting hit or hurt. The biggest step will be to make sure you wear running shoes (or really, any shoes) that are fitted correctly. Don’t wear kinds that are too tight or short, squeezing or even touching the ends of your toes. On the other hand, you don’t want kinds that are too loose, either, because they can allow your feet to slide forward when you take a step, bashing your toes against the insides anyway.

In addition, make sure you wear socks that aren’t too tight and still wick moisture away from your feet. Keep your nails trimmed short and straight across. If your feet need extra support, use your orthotics to stabilize your lower limbs. Try to avoid dropping heaving things on your feet as well.

Ultimately, taking care of your feet and wearing the right footwear are the most important aspects of preventing black toenails. If you do develop blackened nails, though, don’t worry too much—they shouldn’t keep you from running. Our team at Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists will help you with any kind of running and foot pain issues. Let us take care of your nails. Contact our Ladera Ranch, CA, offices through our website or by calling (949) 364-9255 today.