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toenails hurt
Why Do My Toenails Hurt After Running, Exercise, & Playing Sports?

Runners and athletes understandthe importance of healthy feet and toenails. Whether youre going for a long walk, hiking, playing soccer, or running a half marathon, your feet propel you to be your best. When theres a problem with your feet or toes, it can affect your athletic ability and make life more difficult. Unfortunately, for some athletes, painfultoenails after exercising can become a common problem.

Anyone involved in running or sports knows that they are not at peak performance when you havetoenails that hurt. The best thing to do is to figure out whats causing that pain in the first place. In many cases, somesimple changes or adjustments can fix the problem. In other instances, it may be the result of something more serious.

Whether you play basketball each day or go on long walks, this type of toenail discomfort and foot pain can happen after extended activity. You may not even consider yourself an athlete. But, any physical activity can put you at risk for sorenessif youre not careful. If your toenails have started to throb after a long run orexercise, there is usually something you can do to remedy the cause.

This article will cover several possible causes of toenail pain after exercising andplaying sports. Well also provide solutions for each potential problem. In most cases, you wont have to worry about the negative long-term effects of toenail pain. With the right treatment for each case, you can continue to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Table of Contents:

Are You Wearing the Right Kind of Shoes?

The right athletic shoes are extremely important for the type of physical activity. They are especially important for runners. Running causes a repetitive motion for your feet and toes. If your shoes dont fit properly, that repetition can lead to several problems.

Improper footwear is one of the main causes of foot and toenail problems for athletes. The biggest issue is footwear that doesnt fit the right way. Not only can this cause a buildup of moisture, but it can cause repetitive trauma to your toenails.

If your toes are crammed into your shoe, and youre consistently rubbing them on the inside of the shoe, several problems could occur, including:

If your sneakers are tight due to one of these conditions, use the best shoe stretchersto create more space. This will help to reduce any discomfort that youre experiencing, as well as allowing your feet to breathe more easily.

What are Black Toenails?

Getting a black toenail may ironically be a right of passage for some runners. It is often called runners toe or tennis toe. To some, its the idea that you run so much, your toenail turns black, or even falls off. Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about the real cause. It doesnt matter how frequently you might run. Black toenails are usually caused by shoes that dont fit correctly.

As you might expect, the toenail turns black. This is due to dried up blood underneath the nail. It can be extremely painful, and the nail may even fall off. It usually occurs when your toes are rubbing consistently against the front part of your shoes. This causes a blood blister to form under the nail.

How to Choose the BestFootwear for Running

A good rule of thumb for athletic footwear is to size up. Choose a running shoe that is about a ? size bigger than your casual shoes. Always try running shoes on before purchasing, and make sure you have plenty of room in the toe area.

The best solution to find the right shoes, however, is to go to a specialty store. Not only will they have a wider variety of options, but the employees there are knowledgeable about the type of footwear that will work best for you. Theyll be able to fit you properly for the right size.

Even if you already think you know your size, its a good idea to get measured. Try to get measured at the end of the day. Feet swell throughout the day, so its better to get fittedfor a pair when they are at their largest point.

Do You Have a Foot Injury?

Our toenails tend to take a beating when were physically active. Its common to experience an injury of some kind. Some are more noticeable than others, and some can be more painful than others. If you have toe pain, check your symptoms to determine if an underlying injury may be causing it.

Common foot injuries due to running include things like:

  • Blisters
  • Bunions
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Calluses

My toenails are hurting after going running

How to Deal with an Ingrown Toenail

A common foot injury is an ingrown toenail. Theycan become so painful, they may prevent you from running if not taken care of. An ingrown toenail occurs when the corner or side of a toenail actually curves directly into the skin. They can be caused by tight-fitting shoes, trauma to the nail, having nails that are naturally too curved, or cutting your nails too short.

Not only can ingrown toenails cause swelling and pain, but they also can put you at risk for infection. If they cut into your skin, the pain can be almost unbearable.

Self-care is extremely important if you experience an ingrown toenail. Better-fitting footwear can help, as can warm soaks in an electrical foot spa. Special softening creams can also be used to ease the intensity of the nail poking into the skin.

In some cases, however, the nail may need to be professionally lifted or removed by a podiatrist. It is a fairly simple surgical procedure. This treatment might take you away from running for a while, but its the safest approach to getting rid of the problem. It will allow you to start running again without pain sooner.

Do You Know the Signs of Toenail Fungus?

People who are physically active tend to be more prone to this type of fungal infection ordevelop athletes foot. Why? It has nothing to do with your activity, and everything to do with how youre taking care of your feet before, during, and after.

Its also easy for athletes foot to spread to your toenails. Thats why its important to use an athletes foot treatment as soon as it happens.

Toenail fungus usually occurs when moisture finds a way to getunderneath the toenail. It can happen from something like a public shower or pool. However, one of the most common causes is not allowing enough air to circulate around and under the nail. If youre an avid runner, Its likely that your feet get sweaty. If that sweat builds up for too long, that moisture can get trapped underneath the nail.

Fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. What could be better than a dark, moist, warm athletic shoe? With that in mind, its easy to see why athletes can easily get this condition quite frequently. Some of the most common symptoms of toenail fungus include:

A fungal infection of the nail can also occur due to repeated trauma. Its another reason the right shoes are so important, so your toes arent jammed against the ground again and again.

Toenail fungus will not go away on its own. It will grow and continue to spread if not properly taken care of. Not only can this eventually lead to pain and discomfort, but it can potentially lead to infection, and/or loss of the nail.

Quick Guide to Treatinga Fungal Infection of the Toenails

Toenail fungus is a common problem for athletes, but people contract it for multiple reasons. Because it occurs often, there are several quality treatment options to consider. In many cases, self-care steps can help to keep the infection under control. However, you may need to consider one of the following treatments if your fungus has started to grow:

There are also multiple remedies you can try at home. These remedies usually consist of using some type of antifungal agent directly on the fungus itself. One of the most popular natural remedies is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties.

Additionally, you can take some preventative measures to help reduce your risk of a fungal infection. Some of these precautionary tips include:

Whether youre treating a toenail fungus at home, or with the help of a podiatrist, keep your nails trimmed and pay attention to the overall hygiene of your feet. This will make it easier for medications to work quickly.

Why do my feet and nails hurting after exercise?

How toTake Better Care of Toenails

If you are regularly physically active, taking care of your feet is very important. With the right kind of foot care and a little extra attention, you may be able to reduce your chances of some of the common toenail problems listed in this article. Follow some of these tips for overall foot and toenail care.

Choose the right shoes and socks: We stressed the importance of the right shoes earlier, but socks can be equally important, especially to help avoid things like toenail fungus. If youre running a lot, your feet are likely to become sweaty. If your socks soak up and trap that moisture, it can lead to a fungal infection, or cause your toes to slip within your shoe, creating trauma. Try towear antifungal socks every day. Give your feet time to breathe: When youre not running or exercising, give your feet and nails as much time to breathe as possible. Try to avoid wearing shoes or socks around your home. Exposing your feet to the air will help to reduce the risk of a fungal infection, and moisture getting trapped under the nail bed. Moisturize your nails: Moisturize your feet and nails regularly, especially if youre active. It can help to prevent your feet from cracking and bleeding. When you moisturize your nails before putting your running shoes on, with something like a urea lotion, it can help to strengthen your nails and make them less prone to breakage. You can also use tea tree oil or coconut oil as natural moisturizers. Check your diet: If youre an athlete, youre probably already conscious about your health. But, it cant be stressed enough that your diet affects things as small as your toenails. Nutritional deficiencies can weaken the nails and make them break and become brittle much easier. If youre not getting adequate nutrition, supplement your diet with vitamins for strong nails. Keep your nails trimmed: Long toenails make it easy for moisture to get trapped underneath them. They can also get caught in your socks and create tearing, which can bend or rip the nail, too. Additionally, nails that are too long can cut into the surrounding toes. If that sort of injury occurs and causes bleeding, it could be extremely painful, and even put you at risk for infection. Foot massage: Getting a foot massage with an electrical machine will soothe pain and improve circulation.

Treat Injured Toenailswithout Delay

As runners and athletes, your feet absorb impact regularly. They also are put to work quite often, so if they arent taken care of properly, problems can arise. The best thing you can do if you are regularly active is to take care of your overall foot health. Pay attention to how you look and feel every day, especially after a workout.

If your toenails start to hurt, or you notice that they are injured, treat them immediately. Make sure they are fully clean and dried off before using an antibiotic or antifungal cream, such as the Purely Northwest System. If youre still unsure why your toenails are hurting, see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Painful toenails can put a huge strain on your running routine. Taking care of them quickly will help to reduce discomfort, and allow you to keep up with your regular activities.

Ingrown toenails hurt so bad / myLot
I have had the same problem for over 2 years and I didn't have the money to go to see someone to get it taken care of and still don't. I know it is very painful and I can not wear heels either without it smushing my big toe!! Mine is in by big toe, and I have so many pairs of heels that I have been dying to wear but I can't! That makes me so sad, I just try to cut around it and dig it out myself but I know when I get some money saved it will have to be done and hopefully soon!!Well good luck to you. Why Some People Develop Painful Toenails After a Run

Have you noticed that after a long run, a couple of my toenails are throbbing like they arebruised? You probably wonder whether this it is common for toenails to hurt after running and what you should do to prevent it.


Your toenails are sore and throbbing after a run because your toes are being slammed into the tip of the toebox of your shoe with every step, especially as you go downhill. There are a couple of elements that can contribute to this:

  • Your shoes are too small. Your running shoes should be one-half to a full size bigger than your regular shoe size because your feet will swell when you run and you need plenty of room in the toebox.
  • Your shoes are too big orworn too loose. If you have a sloppy fit, your foot may slide around more in the shoe with each step. This can contribute to more toenail trauma with each step.

Signs and Symptoms

Sore toenails may simply be tender when you press on the nailor throb even when don't touch them. In additions, you could experience foot problems such asblack toenails(which usually start as that throbbing pain in your toenails),blisters, orfoot numbness.


If you're wondering if your current running shoes are the correct size, check the location of your big toe. If it's pushed right up against the front of the shoe, they're too small. Another easy way to check the fit is to remove the shoe's insert and stand on it. If any part of your toes is hanging over the end of the insert, your running shoes are too small.


When you experience sore toenails, you will want to give them a chance to heal for a few days. You may want to wear open-toed shoes where they will not have any further trauma until they are no longer tender.

If redness develops or the pain worsens, you should see your doctor to be sure that you don't have an infection and get treatment if you do.

You may notice that you are developing a black toenail, which will probably lead to losing the toenail. While this can be distressing, it happens to many runners and the toenail will grow back.

Preventing Sore Toenails

One of the best tips for sore toenails is to learn to lace your shoes to retain your heel in the heel cup and prevent your feet from sliding forward in the shoe with each step.

Lace your shoe to the next-to-last eyeletLace over and down through the top eyelet on the same side to form a "bunny ear."Do the same for the other side.Pull the lace through the opposite "bunny ear."Tie your bow.

This lacing technique will pull the top of the lacing tight at the ankle while keeping the rest of the lacing properly tensioned.

Keeping your foot from sliding forward especially important for running routes that include downhill sections. You should stop and ensure your shoes are laced correctly before any significant downhills.

If your shoes have a sloppy fit, you can wear a thicker running sock. Look for versions that have more padding. You can even wear two pairs of socks. Lacing techniques can also help shoes fit better.

The bottom line is also that you need to get shoes that are the right size. When shopping for running shoes, make sure you go to a specialty running storeand have the salesperson measure your feet. Even if you think you know your shoe size, your feet can get wider and longer (due to falling arches), even as an adult. Also, it's best to try on new running shoes after a long run or at the end of the day, when your feet are already swollen.

A Word From Verywell

Sore toenails are a sign that you need to pay attention to the fit of your shoes. With the right fit and lacing techniques, you will reduce your risk of foot blistersand losing toenails. While toenail trauma is so common that it is a meme among marathoners, you don't have to join that club.

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