519-624-4122

Chiropodist - Cambridge
366 Hespeler Road Unit #12
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J6
519-624-4122

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“My toenails fall of regularly” and “my toenails turn blue/black and very thick” are terms that we hear often from runners. Chances are if you are an avid, frequent runner, you have experienced a thick, bruised toenail more than once in your life. Our patients who have this problem often come to see us because they are embarrassed about the appearance of their nails, but do not want to have to give up running.

 

    As with many conditions, determining the reason behind why nails become thick, bruised and eventually fall off, is the key to determining the solution. In runners, the simple answer is that often, with long or strenuous runs, the toes and forefoot are repetitively making contact with the front of the running shoe, and this is causing micro-trauma to the nails. With time, the nails bruise and change colour, and for many runners they do eventually fall off.


    What complicates this simple answer is the fact that some marathoners, long distance and extreme runners have never experienced this problem.  How is this possible? The answer is that there is variation in everyone’s individual biomechanics. That is, every person has a unique set of biomechanical measurements which determine how their foot will function under various conditions, including running.

 

    For example, if a person has “flat feet” or “low arches,” their forefoot will be constantly be closer to the ground than someone with a normal arch, and their foot will thrust forward in the shoe, more regularly than someone without a flat foot. The same is true for someone who has joint hypermobility, or a pronated foot type.

 

    So what is the solution to black, blue and thickened toenails in runners? It could be as simple as a change in footwear.  Alternatively, orthotics may improve the foot function while running, and thus alleviate the pressure caused by the interaction between the forefoot and the shoe.  The only real way to know is to have a biomechanical assessment.

 

If you are sick of your blue toenails and want a more permanent solution, give our office a call at 519-624-4122. We can help. Happy Friday and enjoy your long-distance run this weekend!

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366 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J6

Chiropodist - Cambridge, Douglas C. Broad, D.Ch, 366 Hespeler Road, Cambridge Ontario, N1R 6J6 519-624-4122