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.

The Importance of Healthy Feet

January 14, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Many of us take our feet for granted. We get up in the morning, wiggle our toes a bit, and slide on socks and shoes. For most of us, that’s it. Until we get ready for bed in the evening, we give them Images_8little more thought. If we change shoes and socks during the day, it may be for a workout, or for some kind of sport, or in the summer, to put on sandals.
     Unless we have some type of foot pain, we give our feet little thought. If we get an itch around our toes, we may check them for athlete’s foot. If a toe hurts, we may check our nails in case they have become ingrown. And maybe once a month, we trim our toenails. That’s usually it.
     But our feet are vital to our existence. They get us from one place to another place. Take away the ability to walk and people’s lives can deteriorate.  For many people, walking is key to maintaining good health.  A walk a day can help people with weight reduction or weight control. In some cases it may be the only exercise they get. And walking is better and more fun when our feet are healthy and happy. Here are a few of the previous articles in this Happy Feet blog on keeping our feet healthy and happy:
Put Your Socks First
Filing Toenails
Keeping Your Feet Dry
Are Your Feet Pretty?
Watch and Wash Your Heels
Getting a Good Fit With Your Shoes
Insoles and Orthotics
Five Tidbits of Foot Care Wisdom
Those Pesky Ingrown Toenails
     I encourage you to check out some of these links and read how you can keep for feet healthy and happy.  If some of this is new to you, my book Fixing Your Feet (4th edition) and my booklet Happy Feet, are filled with tips and information on all aspects of foot care.

Filing Toenails

April 12, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Health 

I recently received the following email question.

     “I would like your input. I need to file down my thick toenails. I checked out a pedicure set online and it is battery operated. Looks good to me. Let me know your take.”

     The answer is fairly easy. Unless you have really thick nails and prefer the faster filing of a Images_4 battery-operated unit, a regular file would fine. For thickened toenails however, a callus file is larger and files more nail at a time—and can be bought for as little as $4.00. A regular nail file is about 1/2 inch wide while a callus file is over an inch wide and often slightly curved. Good callus files are stiffer which allows pressue to be applied to the filing process. Which ever filing method you use, just be sure to do it on a regular basis.

     Foot care can be done inexpensively with a simple nail file or callus file, and a container of lotion or callus cream.  It is easy to go overboard and spend a lot of money and get a fancy 47298 pedicure set when only a few of the tools are needed. However, if you really want to do quality foot care, I highly recommend the purchase of a set and learning how to manage both your toenails and skin. Nail files, callus files, and skin creams can be found at your local drug store. Pedciure sets can be found at mnay online sites including FootSmart.com.

     When our feet are properly cared for, they are happy. Let’s work at keeping them that way. It only takes a few minutes a couple of times a week.

Trimming Toenails – It’s Not That Hard

August 11, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Health, Sports 

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.

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