How Can I Relieve Toenail Pain After Running?

Q I get painful toenails when I run they seem better after I cut them back but begin to hurt as they grow out again. I find it hard to cut them every day. Any ideas for me? – JENNY


A This is a pretty common complaint among my running patients, especially those who are running really hard and/or running down hills. There are several strategies to consider that might help you.

Make sure your shoe fits properly. A good running shop will be able to assist you. My general rule is to leave a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe toe box. Make sure there are no seams in your shoes or socks that can compress your nails.

Nail polish can be an issue for people who like “painted” nails. This is particularly popular in the sandal seasons. Nail polish stops the nail from “breathing” and can cause the nail to pull away from the bed below the nail. Combined with nail trauma from running, this can cause pain. It is probably best to limit the number of days per week that you keep your nails painted.

One simple solution to the nail length problem is to file your toenails daily after each shower or bath when they are “softened” by the water. This will keep the nails at their best length all the time and reduce the pain associated with longer nails. – BILL

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