Sore toes after half maraton

After I finished my first half marathon my toes were in lots of pain. Someone mentioned that this could be due to sneakers being too small. Is this correct? I already buy sneakers that are half a size bigger than my normal size.


  • Could well be correct. Actual size written on the shoe isn't something to pay too much attention to, as there can be a big variation in sizing between brands. What you want is a shoe that when you're laced in reasonably tightly with your heel snug against the back of the shoe, still has quite a bit of 'wiggle room' for your toes.Best idea would be to get along to a specialist running shop with your shoes and ask the advice of one of their fitters. Go for a shop where the staff actually look like seasoned runners rather than just young sales assistants.

    Could also be that you just need to experiment with lacing your shoes a bit tighter to stop your toes getting squished up at the front of them when you're running down hills...

  • Thanks for the info, it makes sense. Sounds like a plan.
  •  If your toe-nail goes black, then that probably is due to your shoes being a bit small, or your toe-nails being too long.  You should keep them as short as you can.

    The second toe on my left foot is sometimes a bit sore after a long run - I don't think my shoes are too small though, there's plenty of room (and they are a size and a half bigger than my normal shoes).

    I think it's just the pounding, and it happens less as I do more long runs.

  • I've had this - it wasn't my shoes but my socks were too small. I sit at a sock boundary, and had gone with the lower size, after a few washes they'd appeared to have shrunk a bit and were putting pressure on my toes.

    There was no bruising to the nail, it was just a constant pressure on the ends of my toes.

  • I feel your pain. I ran my first half on sunday (Reading Half Marathon) and managed to come away with no injuries apart from some lovely blisters on both my big toes and the loss of 2 toe nails which is causing me so much pain at the moment, especially wearing shoes image I have had my trainers looked at and wearing the right ones for me and the right size. Now I need to look at my socks and will look at how I lace up my shoes. I really want to carry on with running and already want to sign up for another half marathon but need to get my toes sorted out!
  • You lost two toenails doing a half marathon? image Are you SURE your trainers are big enough?

    Congrats on your first half btw!  Well done. I hope you get your toe problem resolved in time for your next race. Like Helen Liz says, you can also wear too-small socks. 

  • I totally understand Sarah. It puts me off running a half or even a marathon. I lost two nails too! I would really like to run a marathon
  • Yike! Please don't think that huge blisters and toenail loss is an inevitable part of running long distances - it really isn't. It might take you a bit of time to figure out, but you'll get there if you keep trying out different things. If you figure out which bits usually blister you can also experiment with pre-taping, which a lot of ultra-runners do as a matter of course for each race. Compeed patches are pretty good for this, so is Second Skin and various different brands of sports tape.

  • I did my first half marathon a couple of weekends ago, and my big toenails have turned a gnarly shade of purple/black, and one is lifting away. image

    I was fitted for my shoes, but I think that the heat on the day probably made my feet swell more than usual and my shoes came loose. Not sure. Have had the same shoes (2 pairs of) for a year. Hadn't considered the socks, but they are a bit on the biggish side.

    Am resigned to the fact I am about to lose my toenails in time for the summer. Will be trying to tie my laces tighter perhaps, and perhaps some different shops. My toes don't hurt now after 10 days, but look horrid!
  • I think a trip to the running shop to look at socks is on the cards for me. I also think it might be the way I am running, I think I have funny shape toes and they rub together!! I am going to sign up for Cardiff so there is plenty of time for me to try different things. Thanks for the ideas, going to try all these out. I wont give up the running as Sunday was one of my proudest days!!

  • If your toes rub together, Boots sell tube plasters which have gel inside - you slide the plaster over one toe and it cushions the toes.
  • I have been running since 2005 and my first year I lost toenails several times. I saw a podiatrist who recommended New balance sneakers because they are designed with a larger than average toe box. It worked - I stopped having toe issues. This year, I was having trouble running because I am still carrying 40 extra pounds from having a baby and was recommended Brooks. They helped with the knee/Achilles issues I was having but after my first half marathon with the Brooks, my toes are bruised and painful. Not sure what to do - suffer the to pain or the Achilles tendinitis. Ugh. For those of you just struggling with the toes, you might look into NB as an option.
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