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Protect Your Toenails from Your Sports Shoes

Fall sports are well under way at area high schools and colleges, and with them comes the litany of injuries that often accompany the season: concussions, sprains, stress fractures, toenail damage—wait, toenails? Yes, these often forgotten parts of your foot can be injured during sports, too, and many times it happens because of your shoes.

Just like pounding the pavement or dodging side to side on soccer or football field can cause sprains and fractures, ramming your toenails against the fronts your shoes when running can cause black toenails. The constant trauma causes bleeding under the nail. It turns dark, and the pain from the pressure of fluid can be quite severe.

Another problem related to your shoes is ingrown nails. When the fronts are too tight—as soccer and football cleats can be—they pinch the sides of your toes, making the nail grow into the skin. The results are swelling, redness, pain, and possibly infection.

So what do you do to protect yourself? Buy shoes that fit properly, and lace them correctly. Shoe shopping tips include going later in the day after your feet have swollen a bit, measuring and fitting to the larger foot, and finding a pair with good side support and wide-enough toe areas. You want your heel to fit snugly, and the toes to be able to wiggle a bit and not be pinched. There should be a half inch or so of room in the shoe beyond your longest toe.

When you put them on, press your heel firmly into the back, and then lace them snugly from bottom to top (but not so tight that you put undue pressure on the top of your foot). If the back part of the foot is held firmly in place, there is less chance of it sliding forward and pressing the toes against the front of the shoe. One hint: if you do any hill runs during your training, it’s a good idea to re-lace your shoes afterwards.

If it’s too late, and your toenail is already bruised or ingrown, we’ll be glad to help you find relief from the pain and pressure. Simply call Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey at 908-222-8980 and we’ll get you right in for an appointment. You don’t have to put up with pain that hampers your sports performance when we can help your toenails heal.

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