Runners toe usually occurs most often among runners, skiers and tennis players. The condition is also called as tennis toe or skier’s toe. If there has been bleeding under the toenail that is accompanied by pain, it is runner’s toe. Take note that it is not a serious injury but it causes a lot of pain. In most cases, it can even prevent the individual from participating in sports and can take days, weeks or even months for the blood to work its way out from beneath the nail. Remember that the area under the toenail is the ideal place for an infection to develop.
How runners toe occurs
The condition occurs due to the constant downward pressure on the toenails or irritation between the shoe and toenails. Wearing tight shoes creates constant pressure, thus it damages both the toe and toenail. If the shoes are loose, the movement of the foot within the shoe creates the same condition. Additionally, the feet can swell during the warm weather, thus becoming prone to shoe or toe friction. Lastly, the individual can develop runner’s toe by sustaining a direct blow on top of the foot.
Regardless of the cause, the skin is bruised and bleeds beneath the nail. If the damage is severe, part or the entire toenail might fall off.
Who are likely candidates for runner’s toe?
As the name implies, distance runners faces the highest risk for the condition. Individuals who dance, ski or play tennis are also at risk since they are constantly ramming the front part of their foot forward and into the toe box of their shoes.
What are the symptoms of runner’s toe?
- Minimal irritation
- Bleeding beneath the toenail
- Sore toe is present in severe cases
- Brown, red, black or bluish appearance of the toenail
- Complete or partial loss of the toenail in severe cases
- Separation of the toenail from the toe bed
Treatment for runner’s toe
When it comes to minor cases of runners toe, rest assured that the injury can resolve on its own within 1-2 days of rest. The individual must be instructed to clip the toenails regularly to prevent contact with the shoes. When trimming the toes, it must be straight across but not too short that the leftover nail or nail bed is exposed to the shoe. It is also recommended to use shoes with a wider toe box to prevent further irritation.
As a first aid measure, you can tape a toenail that is partially torn until a new nail starts to form. Do not attempt to pull off the damaged nail since it falls off on its own.
In some cases, the doctor might be required to drain the blood through the toenail using a specialized tool. It is best to consult a doctor if the pain persists or there are signs of infection present such as swelling, redness and pain that lasts for a few days.