Runner’s toe is an unpleasant condition, which, despite its name, often also affects people who play sports like tennis, where the toes come under repeated stress. For the same reason, you’re also at increased risk if you regularly go skiing.
How can you tell if you have runner’s toe?
There are several signs that show you have this condition. These can include:
- Numbness, especially in your big toe, which gets worse if you continue running or playing certain sports.
- Your toenail may start to look black, dark red or blue, because of bleeding or bruising beneath it.
- Your toenail may become thicker. This happens because pressure under the nail can pull it away from its bed.
What should you do to treat runner’s toe?
The first thing to remember is that there’s no need to panic. Although uncomfortable and sometimes painful, runner’s toe can be treated very effectively. If you only have a minor case, you may not need much treatment at all.
- Give yourself at least a couple of days of rest to avoid putting any further pressure on the damaged toe.
- Keep your toenail away from the shoe by clipping it carefully. You can also cover it with tape, or even wear open-toed shoes.
What if your toe doesn’t improve?
If you find that the pain from your toe is continuing, it’s a good idea to see your podiatrist, who will be able to offer more specialized treatment. Never try to rip out a damaged nail. This can result in worse problems such as bleeding or even infection.
- A specially designed instrument can be used to drain blood from your toenail, relieving the pressure and reducing pain.
- It’s particularly important to get professional advice if your symptoms don’t go away, or if you see swelling or redness.
How can you avoid runner’s toe?
Although it’s usually fairly straightforward to treat this condition, that doesn’t stop it being pretty unpleasant while you have it – so it’s much better if you can avoid getting it in the first place! Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to lower your risk:
- Keep your feet dry and clean, and avoid letting them get too sweaty. Socks that wick moisture away from the skin will help with this.
- Keep your toenails well-trimmed, and avoid wearing shoes that are too small. Both these things will help avoid irritation and rubbing.