Bad Toenails at Western States

July 7, 2017 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, General, Health, Sports, toenails 

I’m taking another opportunity to share a few pictures from the Western States 100 two weeks ago. The pictures were taken at the finish line. They are important because it’s very hard to get runners to learn how to manage their toenails. Maybe the two pictures will help.

The tops of bad toenailsThe first picture is taken looking down at the tops of the runner’s two great toes. Notice the apparent forward rough edge of the toenails. See the blood at the back of the nail, at the base of the nails? In this instance, the toenails were pushed backwards into the nailbed and into the cuticle of the nail and the nail folds that support the nail at the rear and sides.

The constant trauma to the toes with the toenails being pushed backwards, caused blood to form at the base of the nail. The blood then spreads to the inside of the toe and under the nail. In the second picture, you can see blood all along the inside of the toe and moving under the toe and forward over the tip of the toe.

The front of bad toenailsThe downhills, or a shoe too short in either length or height of the toe box were all contributing factors. But the real cause, in my opinion, was the toenails that are too long and not trimmed short enough and then filed smooth.

In August 2005, I wrote a blog post about Trimming Toenails – It’s Not That Hard. Here is what I wrote:

How hard can it be to trim your toenails? I guess for a lot of folks, it’s a huge deal and something they never do. In all the years I have been patching feet, I have observed that untrimmed toenails are the number one cause of problems leading to toe blisters and black nails. Socks will catch on nails that are too long or that have rough edges. This puts pressure on the nail bed. Nails that are too long are also prone to pressure from a toe box that is too short or too low.

So what are some tips to keeping your toenails under control? Toenails should be trimmed straight across the nail—never rounded at the corners. Leave an extra bit of nail on the outside corner of the big toe to avoid an ingrown toenail. After trimming toenails, use a nail file to smooth the top of the nail down toward the front of the toe and remove any rough edges. If you draw your finger from the skin in front of the toe up across the nail and can feel a rough edge, the nail can be filed smoother or trimmed a bit shorter.

Use a regular nail file from your drug store, you know, those cheap “use it a few times and toss it” file. Better yet, invest a few bucks in a nice metal file that will last a long time and serve you well. If you need clippers, there are regular large clippers and for thick nails there are nippers and scissors made exclusively for toenails. If your local drug store or pharmacy doesn’t have them, check out FootSmart for a great selection.

A little bit of care in toenail trimming goes a long ways in making your socks last, and in preventing toe blisters and black toenails.

In the case of the runner at Western States, good toenail care could have prevented his blood blisters.

I have repeatedly written about toenails and how to take care of them. It’s one of the things I stress with runners. It’s so easy to do and only takes a few minutes. At our aid stations and the finish line, we saw many runners with bad toenails.

Tonya Olson, a physical therapist who does amazing foot care too, has helped at Western States for many years. She’s worked Michigan Bluff, Foresthill, and then we work the finish line together. When we see runners with toenail blisters or untrimmed toenails, we look at each other to decide which one of us will give the runner “the toenail talk.” You don’t want to be on the receiving end of the “toenail talk” because we make you feel guilty about your lack of quality toenail care. Again, it’s so simple and can save your race.

If you missed last week’s blog post about the condition of feet at Western States, here the link to the post: Feet at Western States.

Next week I’ll be in Death Valley for the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon. We’ll see what feet are like there.

Bad Toenails at Western States

July 7, 2017 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, General, Health, Sports, toenails 

I’m taking another opportunity to share a few pictures from the Western States 100 two weeks ago. The pictures were taken at the finish line. They are important because it’s very hard to get runners to learn how to manage their toenails. Maybe the two pictures will help.

The tops of bad toenailsThe first picture is taken looking down at the tops of the runner’s two great toes. Notice the apparent forward rough edge of the toenails. See the blood at the back of the nail, at the base of the nails? In this instance, the toenails were pushed backwards into the nailbed and into the cuticle of the nail and the nail folds that support the nail at the rear and sides.

The constant trauma to the toes with the toenails being pushed backwards, caused blood to form at the base of the nail. The blood then spreads to the inside of the toe and under the nail. In the second picture, you can see blood all along the inside of the toe and moving under the toe and forward over the tip of the toe.

The front of bad toenailsThe downhills, or a shoe too short in either length or height of the toe box were all contributing factors. But the real cause, in my opinion, was the toenails that are too long and not trimmed short enough and then filed smooth.

In August 2005, I wrote a blog post about Trimming Toenails – It’s Not That Hard. Here is what I wrote:

How hard can it be to trim your toenails? I guess for a lot of folks, it’s a huge deal and something they never do. In all the years I have been patching feet, I have observed that untrimmed toenails are the number one cause of problems leading to toe blisters and black nails. Socks will catch on nails that are too long or that have rough edges. This puts pressure on the nail bed. Nails that are too long are also prone to pressure from a toe box that is too short or too low.

So what are some tips to keeping your toenails under control? Toenails should be trimmed straight across the nail—never rounded at the corners. Leave an extra bit of nail on the outside corner of the big toe to avoid an ingrown toenail. After trimming toenails, use a nail file to smooth the top of the nail down toward the front of the toe and remove any rough edges. If you draw your finger from the skin in front of the toe up across the nail and can feel a rough edge, the nail can be filed smoother or trimmed a bit shorter.

Use a regular nail file from your drug store, you know, those cheap “use it a few times and toss it” file. Better yet, invest a few bucks in a nice metal file that will last a long time and serve you well. If you need clippers, there are regular large clippers and for thick nails there are nippers and scissors made exclusively for toenails. If your local drug store or pharmacy doesn’t have them, check out FootSmart for a great selection.

A little bit of care in toenail trimming goes a long ways in making your socks last, and in preventing toe blisters and black toenails.

In the case of the runner at Western States, good toenail care could have prevented his blood blisters.

I have repeatedly written about toenails and how to take care of them. It’s one of the things I stress with runners. It’s so easy to do and only takes a few minutes. At our aid stations and the finish line, we saw many runners with bad toenails.

Tonya Olson, a physical therapist who does amazing foot care too, has helped at Western States for many years. She’s worked Michigan Bluff, Foresthill, and then we work the finish line together. When we see runners with toenail blisters or untrimmed toenails, we look at each other to decide which one of us will give the runner “the toenail talk.” You don’t want to be on the receiving end of the “toenail talk” because we make you feel guilty about your lack of quality toenail care. Again, it’s so simple and can save your race.

If you missed last week’s blog post about the condition of feet at Western States, here the link to the post: Feet at Western States.

Feet at Western States

July 2, 2017 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, General, Health 

On June 12 I wrote a blog post Running a Wet 100 Mile Trail Run.

On June 24, I found out many runners ignored my advice, to their detriment. Maybe they didn’t read it, or didn’t see it, or simply read it and ignored it.

A typical year at WS has our foot care team at Michigan Bluff lancing and patching a goodly number of blisters. On toes, heels, ball of the foot, arches, and more. Maybe 50 to 75 blisters. Maybe more. We really don’t count.

This year I lanced and patched one blister. Yes, that’s right – ONE.

But this was not a typical year at WS. Instead of dry conditions, there were miles of snow, and mud, combined with heat so runners soaked themselves in streams and poured water over their hears and down into their shoes.

Maceration WS100I predicted the outcome. Maceration.

Runners came in to see us complaining of blisters and were surprised when we told them there were none. Just macerated feet.

So we powdered their feet, asked them if they had dry socks. And hopefully, dry shoes. We fixed and changed what we could and sent them on their way – wishing them well.

Were this year’s conditions not known in advance? I don’t think so. Runners and crews knew of the record snowpack. They should have expected water and wet conditions. For whatever reason, many ignored the warnings.

It’s unfortunate that so many runners jeopardized their opportunity for a buckle and a successful race on something that was manageable.

I’d love to hear from runners about what they thought. Send me an email.

In the meantime, click the link and read Running a Wet 100 Mile Trail Run.

Father’s Day Spartan Challenge

June 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Sports 

I love today’s world where we can each pick races and events that we like. Some people run trails, others run roads, while some do both. Many athletes ride, or hike, or adventure race. Whatever your interest, there’s a race or event to challenge you.

But how often do you try something new?

Every so often I have the opportunity to try and entice you to try a Spartan Race.

Please read to the end of this blog post because I have an opportunity for one person to win a free entry into a Spartan Race.

Have you done a Spartan Race? These very popular races are obstacles course races of short to endurance length distances. Each race involves water and mud, and their signature obstacles that will test your physical, mental, tactical and team-based skills. Spartan Races are held throughout the country. If these races interest you for 2017, check out the Spartan website as well as the two books Spartan Up! and Spartan Fit! Do a Spartan Race and you’ll come out as more than a runner.

I know. Some of you are saying. They aren’t the same as a marathon, 50-mile, or 100-mile race. Ultrarunners are tough and our events are hard. Spartan Races are much shorter.

You are right of course. But. And it’s a huge “but”, Spartan Races have obstacles that I’d bet most ultrarunners could not complete. Carrying a 60-pound sandbag up and down a long grassy hill, the barbed wire roll, rope climbs, the log carry, carrying a five-gallon bucket filled with rocks up and down a hill, tire pull, water obstacles, and more.

You have to be in the best physical shape of your life for these events. So do your feet. Between the grassy hills, slick with water and mud, the muddy trails and roads, the uphills and downhills over rocky trails and roads, jumping onto and over walls, down cargo nets, and other challenges, your ankles and feet take a beating. You get junk in your shoes, and while no one in the shows complained of blisters, I am certain many of the racers had them. Just watching the shows I could see there would be sprained ankles along with other injuries.

If you can’t complete an obstacle, you have to do 30 burpees. And that’s after you failed at the obstacle. Your heart is racing and breathing is labored, and you are exhausted.

Check out the website and see if this type of race interests you. Their Spartan Race Father’s Day promotion with code SPARTANDAD will get you 50% off gear, $69 Sprint races, and two free digital books with any race purchase (Spartan Up! & Spartan Fit!). Here’s the link for more information: Spartan Race Father’s Day promotion.

That’s a pretty good deal.

This Father’s Day deal from Spartan expires June 18, Sunday night at 11:59 pm, Eastern time zone.

So here’s another deal. Spartan is giving me one free race code to give away. If you are interested, send me an email and tell me why you’d like to do a Spartan Sprint race and why you think it would challenge you. I’ll randomly select one person for the free race code. The only thing I ask is that after your race, I want you to write a short report on how these compare to a marathon or an ultramarathon.

Send me your email by midnight Saturday. June 17th and I’ll pick the winner Sunday morning. That way, even if you don’t win, you’ll have time to go to their Father’s Day promotion and use the SPARTANDAD coupon and save some cash.

You can also use the SPARTANDAD coupon as a gift for you husband or friend or significant other. Just make sure you use it before the deadline.

Staying Visible While Running

June 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Health 

Today’s article is written as a guest post by Bryan Mac Murray, an Outreach Specialist with Personal Injury Help. I believe staying safe whether running or walking, or cycling is important and something we often forget about.

Staying Visible While Running

You are a member of the growing group of people who enjoy running to stay healthy. As a runner, you understand that making sure you are noticed by drivers is important. Visibility is essential is safety while running regardless of where you go – areas that are less traveled or busy streets. To ensure your safety, you must be proactive and make sure you stand out in the crowd so drivers will notice you and be much less likely to hit you. Here are few ways you can make yourself stand out when you are out for a run.

Fluorescent Clothing

You want to make sure you dress in bright colors so you will be noticed. Fluorescent clothing, such as hot pink, lime green, neon yellow, and orange will get attention. Traditional colors such as green, blue, black, brown, or gray just blend into the surroundings and camouflage you. You want to wear a jacket, vest, or shirt that will make you stand out from both the front and the back.

Visible After Dark

If you are out running when it is dark, such as before dawn or after dusk, you need to make sure you are visible to drivers. When there is no daylight your brightly colored attire isn’t noticed. Wear a safety vest that has reflective piping or put reflective tape on the front and back of your clothing. Reflective bands on the wrists and ankles also help. Add some reflective tape on your shoes as well. For added protection carry a flashlight in front pointed downward. Flashing LED lights can be worn on your clothing on both front and back to help you get noticed. It may be a good idea to make sure that any running clothes that you buy have visibility components, such as jackets with reflective panels, high-visibility colors or both.

Don’t Run Alone

If you can, run with a buddy. Two people running together are more visible than one. Both of you dressed to be visible and running side by side will definitely make you stand out. Having someone along in case of an emergency is also beneficial. This is especially true if you’re running in less-trafficked areas, such as a fire road or nature trail. Because there are less people around, it may take longer for someone to respond if you’re in trouble.

Follow the Traffic Laws

You need to know the traffic laws and adhere to them, just like motorists. This means that you don’t just zip through a stop sign or ignore a traffic light. If it says “don’t walk” you don’t just run on through. Approach the signal or sign, stop, and obey the traffic laws. You don’t want to run into the path of a vehicle where you weren’t seen until the last minute. While they may seem more avoidable, bicycles can also be a hazard in this way, and if they’re not being attentive cyclists, they can easily collide with a runner, especially when the bicyclist is turning at an intersection while a runner crosses it.

Run in Well-Lit Areas

You want to run in areas where you can see where you are going. If you head off down a dark street, you could trip over obstacles or debris or end up running into a criminal who is up to no good. Never go down a street that looks dark, abandoned, or just gives you a creepy feeling. Follow your instincts and stay safe when you are out and about. Remember, you need to see where you are going and you also want people to see you so you aren’t hit by a car or the victim of a criminal act. It’s also a good idea to do without earphones if you’re running in a dangerous area as well- being able to hear an approaching car or a would-be assaulter could mean the difference between a close call and a tragic incident.

Watch for Cars

If at all possible, run on the sidewalk. You keep a more significant distance between you and the cars by staying on the sidewalk. This distance can serve as a safety barrier of sorts. Always stay alert so you can get out of the way if you need to move fast. Don’t run around or between cars because you are setting yourself up to be hit because drivers cannot see you when you are in their blind spot. Watch for people opening car doors. Don’t run too close to parked cars or you might end up getting doored.

Staying Safe While Running

Running helps you stay healthy and provides great fun. Making sure drivers will notice you is a great way to improve safety and decrease your chances of being hit by a car. Make sure you know how to stand out and also be ready to jump to safety if the need arises. For additional protection, carry cell phone along with your name and emergency contact information taped on the back in case of an emergency. Let someone know when you are leaving, your route and when you plan to be back.

*This Article was written by Personal Injury Help, however this article is not intended to be legal advice nor should it be construed as such. To learn more about Personal Injury Help, you can visit their website at personalinjury-law.com or email them at help@personalinjury-law.org.

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