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I have always been fond of long distance running because it provides a wonderful cardio workout and I can get outside and explore a variety of trails. However, I have learned that running can be rough on your feet and especially your toenails. Today I’ll share tips I’ve learned over the years on How to Protect and Keep Toenails Healthy When You’re a Runner.
Unfortunately, as a long distance runner I suffer from toenail fungus from time to time. As a busy mom that is trying to stay active by running, my self-care can easily be put on the back burner. I tend to put caring for my kids first and I will notice after it is too late that I need to take care of some toenail fungus that was a result of my long distance runs, running in improper gear, or wet conditions. Not taking care of my own toenail fungus, which is a contagious infection, could actually lead to my kids getting it.
When I trained for the Chicago Marathon a few years ago, I joined a running group and one of the topics that came up a lot during our weekly long runs was how to care for your toenails as a runner. Unfortunately, as a runner you can develop a lot of toenail problems, such as toenail fungus, black toenail or even possibly losing a toenail!
A wonderful site to visit that explains exactly what toenail fungus is and how to prevent it is HealthierToes.com. Fungi thrive in wet environments and are also responsible for conditions like ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch.
According to HealthierToes.com, this is how you can identify toenail fungus:
- Separation of the nail from the nail bed
- Debris under the nail
- Discolored nails (usually yellow, non-transparent white, or brown)
- Partial or complete destruction of the nail
- Reddened, swollen, and tender nail bed
HealthierToes.com can also help you understand the importance of treating it because catching it early on can make it easier to treat.
Here is what I’ve done to help me be proactive about something as common as toenail fungus so that you can get back to your runs and busy life: Try to find a running shoe store that will help you select a running shoe that will work properly for you. They may use digital equipment to measure your feet, have you try on several different brands of shoes and may recommend sizing up a half size to give your toes more wiggle room.
- Shoe insoles are extremely important when it comes to long distance running. The insole will provide more cushion and support while allowing your body to work up to absorbing the impact of the longer runs.
- You’ll want to wear socks that are made for runners. These socks will whisk away moisture, whether it be from sweaty feet or the weather. These socks will help reduce friction and not allow moisture to damage your skin and toenails.
- Keep your toenails cut short, because the less your toenail extends out, the less likely it will hit the top or side of your shoe when running.
However, if prevention still doesn’t work for you, you can learn more about toenail fungus on HealthierToes.com. This is a place to learn more about the condition and solutions that help. This site has been a lifesaver for me on how to keep my toenails looking great when I needed a little more help. You may want to consult a healthcare professional if you think you may have a toenail fungus infection.