black toe nails

I've been running for about a year now, and my running has improved and is going really well, the problem is that despite buying good quality running shoes (Kayanos) I'm still getting more that my fair share of black toe nails.  There is plenty of room in the shoes so I don't believe not that they're to small or anything.  Does anybody have the same sort of problems? Or are some people just more prone to this  than others.  Maybe I should consider trying a different brand, problem is that with so many brands and models on the market it can be so confusing, and also very costly.   Does anybody have any  advice, suggestions,  or tips? Wayne FrewenBridgend


  • If it's not the it your nails. Maybe you leave them too long? Black nails can surely only come from bashing the nail against the shoe. I lost 4 of mine just because the shoe was too short - stationary it felt longer than foot but running was a different story
  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    My shoes are 1.5 sizes bigger than street shoes, my nails are short as they can be, but I still get sore, and sometimes black, nails on the second toe when my long runs are more than ten-twelve miles.

    I think it's just the repeated striking on the ground.

  • Mine are half a size bigger now and I keep the toenails relatively short. Mind you I was rather proud of my black toenails the first (and only) timeimage
  • I was told to fit 2 fingers behind your heel and the shoe.  I haven't had a problem since...

    Sometimes, my street shoes are a 6 or 7.  My running shoes are an 8... 

  • Do black toe nails taste better than white ones? You know, when you chew them?

    Seriously...bigger shoes and chop your nails regularly.
  • Another one is to push your heel back in your shoe and there should be a thumbs's width between the end of your longest toe (not always the big toe) and the front of the toe box.

    Cutting the toe nails short so there's no white and having your shoes 'top laced' so it cups the heel to prevent excessive movement can help.

    Sometimes it's the pressure of footstrike though, not the toe actually bashing the end of the shoe.

  • The toe box on a running shoe needs to fit for length, width and height. If you've got the correct size of Kayano and your nails are short then I would guess you should try a different shoe (start with the comparable shoe from other brands). Alternatively get some Thorlo socks because they're quite padded around the toe area.

    The other thing i've found is that black toe nails don't disappear very quickly even if you sort out the cause of the problem.

  • just let them fall off and make a necklace out of the bits....

  • Or leave it on the side of the bath so your other half picks it up thinking it's a plaster...

  • It could be that your toe-nails are hitting the top of the toe-box, rather than the end.

    Or it could be your socks.  I have one toe-nail that gets bruised by my sock rubbing on it when I run really long distances.

  • toe-nails are hitting the top of the toe-box

    definitely an issue - I had this problem with some NB shoes (they had some hard plastic above the toebox) so ditched them 'cos of that
  • I can't stand NB.  They are the only "sports" shoe I have ever been in where I swear they are trying to eat my feet
  • A big thank you everybody who took the time to respond, there are so many tips and suggestions, and I'm sure that between them I'll find a way to lessen, if not totally cure, my black toenail problem.   The suggestion from M.ister W sounds very plausible.  Some of the suggestions and comments are very funny  like the 'making a necklace out of the toe nails' from Karl   "nice one Karl", and the NB comments from Fat Buddha and from ploddingOn.  Again a big thanks to all who took the time to respond.

    Wayne Frewen

  • that's what we're all here for Wayne

    good luck
  • ScreamScream ✭✭✭
    I wish I had toenails.
  • On a similar vein...i dont get black toenails but the top of my toes go a funny shade of grey / black? Is this caused by the same thing? My trainers are half size bigger, I wear running socks?!!
  • DeeCeeDeeCee ✭✭✭
    My toe nails are killing me !  Proper socks, shoes half a size bigger, short nails etc.  I think it's a physiological thing.
  • Hi Ellisrh, I think possibly so, although mine are all colours at the moment, if I had one white one I'd have a snooker set, and if I cut my nails any shorter  I'll be cutting my  toes, on a more serious note, black,grey, its the same thing I think, bruising under the toe nails
  • It's fun and games this running malarky! I think running should be reclassified as a dangerous sport! Thanks wayne for your comments - guess I just have to get used to the black toes. Glad mine aren't a snooker  toes..humm!! image

  • Good tip, if they go black they'll drop off, its envitable, it could take a while before they drop off but when they do you can camoflage the fact you have no nail by painting the skin on your toenail with nail varnish...obviously only for the ladies, unless of course you're a man that's into that sort of thing! ;o)
  • I don't have black toenails, but I do have something that I think is probably related.  On my second toenail on one foot (my longest toe), I have a big white patch that seems to be a build up of dead skin under the nail.  Is that likely to be caused by the same kind of things?  My shoes are plenty long enough and I have plenty of movement in the toe box, but I do have to lace them fairly loosely, which allows my feet to move quite a bit as I run.  (I started out lacing them tighter, but started to develop uncomfortble lumps on my ankles.)
  • Sorry to be disheartening Alibran but your white patch sound horribly like a fungal infection under the nail.  I´ve got one too, with yukky brown around the white patch, and an ingrowing problem.  Painful, though not when running, oddly enough. Been treating it for two years with an antifungal filing-off and paint stuff, to no effect.  Next week it's going to see a scalpel wealding doctor as the GP says that it needs the nail base to be treated, so I'll let you know what it feels like to run with NO big toenail.
  • PoacherPoacher ✭✭✭
    YUK Bikbok, sorry to say that op to remove the big toenail isn't much fun.  Make sure the doc uses enough anaesthetic, if not then.......let's say it hurts when the scalpel goes in, and lots of that red stuff comes out.  Good luck.  
  • cheers poacher, thanks for the encouragement! might chicken out yet.
  • PoacherPoacher ✭✭✭
    Don't want to put you off getting the right treatment - I had it done several times 20 yrs ago, I'm sure techniques will have improved!!
  • OK I'll be a big brave girl then.  Joking apart, did your toenails regrow correctly? I don't mind going through the ...., but I hope for a long term improvement.  The worst thing is the prospect of being temporarily immobilized, for something so relatively trivial.
  • This is an old thread! I have been running for about  twenty years and because I am a runner I'm stupid.

    I cured the problema couple of years ago. What happens is your foot moves in your shoes if you have not laced them right up to the butterfly holes,As you do the good bit (running downhill) the foot slides forward and the toesnails go all black as they hit the front of the shoe. Little toes get squashed if the box part is not wide enough.

    These things happen even if the downhill does not really show up as a hill.

  • I work in a running shop in Central London so i hear this every weekend-

    ...go one size bigger or half a thumb width/full thumb width...You may have a great shoe (Kayano) but is it right for you gait...It is not just the swelling that increases the foot size - it is also the individual foot strike and foot may need a squarer shoe or toe box (Mizuno or NB for eg) - when the foot strikes it acts like a spring and stretches outward/forward and sideways - the shoe may not be high enough also...try some other brands at a running shop...they may be able to help...You need space at the side slightly aswell as the front...experiment...I go 1 full size up and run 30/50 miles per week and have never had a black toe nail plus i wear twin skins and vasaline...GOOD LUCK

  • ...also employ the lock lacing extra hole at the top of the shoe to holds the heel in securely...
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