Thursday, August 11, 2011

Got Toenails?

One of the first races I ever ran, a bunch of girls had the saying "Got Toenails" on the back of their shirts. I thought this was the most hilarious thing ever.  I remember easily relating to them as I had lost a "few" toenails in my time.   But even more so it was the realization that I was not the only one!  There were others like me, hiding in the shadows, under the confines of shoes and socks just waiting to break free and show off their lack of toenails with pride.  After all, the lack of toenails has come from months and months of hard work running, training and the like.  When I asked my doctor about it, he gave a simple you want to abuse your feet by running, you are going to have black toenails, at best...

But when I woke up yesterday and something was missing yet again...can you tell from this picture?
I decided to do a bit more research, confirming that once again I was not alone.  Google is scattered with articles, Runner's World forums and other websites talking about everyone's favorite topic - toes, of course! Now Aaron has told me that this topic falls into the too much information category and that I should warn you about the gross factor.  But after talking to fellow runners I think not (sorry dear).  More and more people deal with the wonderful joys of blackened or lost toenails!  But why I wondered?  Why do some runners never get that joy, while I repeatedly am gifted with two particular black toenails, one on each foot and always in the same spot.  There appears to be several reasons

1) Morton's Toe (who knew there was such a name for my toes lol) - that is when your toe the one next to your big toe, is longer than the other toes  Check - I have got this (I just have beautiful feet, don't I?).

2) Shoes that are too small/not wide enough - if your shoes are too small or even if they are the right size but not a size bigger or at least a half size you risk your toes pushing against the shoes = pressure = blackened toenails = no more toenails.  This can also happen if the shoe is not wide enough.  Such problems can be even more substantial if you have Morton's Toe like yours truly.  Hmm, we all know I have enough trouble in the shoe department so I am not looking to change my shoes any time soon. I have had enough shoe shopping for a lifetime, btw look what arrived yesterday.

3) Socks - yup even if your socks are not big enough they can have the same effect on you as your shoes.  You need to have enough room in your socks to be able to let your toes breathe and avoid pounding and constriction.

4)  Lacing - we all know that I have had some fun lately tying my laces but you can also change up the lacing to deal with blackened toenails - have a look. Who knew?

So there you have it.  How to prevent it.  But I already have it.  And I am running a race in four days sans one toenail.  Yesterday it was not painful at all while I ran but I definitely noticed it more today which is a bit of a concern.  So now I look to you all, anyone have any ideas on how to deal once your toenail is gone and prevent any additional pain?

In the meantime, I encourage all you toenailess runners, if that is a word, to bare all. What the hell! Take out those sandals, shoe of your lack of toenails in pride, you earned it, I know I will!

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