Lost my first toenail - help

I'm training for my first marathon and have recently lost my right big toe nail, completely. My shoes are good but are about 10 months old now so Im going to replace them for a slightly bigger size.  The issue now is that it is so sensitve I can't even wear shoes, never mind run. Marathon is 6th october and my longest run is 15 miles so far (where I also got injured) so everything just seems to be going wrong at the same time!

Does anyone know if the sensitivity/tenderness on the nail bed will go away soon? It fell off 2 days ago.

Regarding my injury, (old hip problem thats made a comeback couple wit shin splints only in the left leg), do I still try and get in my 22 mile run next weekend and hope its enough time to recover or just get better and do short runs until the big day?

Thankyou in advance


  • yes, the toe will be sensitive for a few days but will then settle down and you'll be fine in a month's time.  for the 1st couple of runs it might be worth protecting the sensitive toe with a plaster or some tape but it will quickly get easier.

    and welcome to the world of long distance running - toenails dropping off becomes an occupational hazard!  I've lost count of how many I've lost over the years.

  • I´ve lost a few toenails now Kelly, including one removed under local anaesthetic. All this despite wearing running shoes half a size too big. However, I´ve never really had any sensitivity issues on the nail bed. If anything, it seems to help as it takes away the pressure on the nail area. If you can´t now wear shoes you should really get some medical advice.

    With regards to the marathon, it sounds like you need more preparation time to firstly overcome the injury problems and then build up a bit more endurance. Is withdrawing and choosing another race further down the line an option?

  • 15 to a 22 mile long run is a very big leap - how about an 18 miler? Going 50% further may exacerbate your current injuries and may even add another to the collection! Presumably you are following a plan? How about 18 this weekend (see how you go) and a 20ish the following weekend? That gives you three weeks of tapering as well.

  • Where possible I tend to keep the dead toe nail in place to protect the nail bed. That is not always possible / suitable. A day or two is usually enough for any sensitivity to subside.

    Quick count - 4 healthy nails in place on right foot, 1 on left foot. Hilly marathons are my toe nail nemisis

  • Thankyou everyone, really appreciate the advice.

    I'll get some protection and if the sensitivity doesn't go way, see a doc. Hopefully its just a bit raw atm but it isn't what I would call painful.

    RE my injury, yes I am following a plan that I've had to stop. I was contemplating doing 18 this weekend I'm just worried Ill further aggrevate the leg but agree 22 is a big jump. I can't back out though, I've a load of sponserships and it's just not really an option. I think what I'll do is attempt 18 this weekend but go at a reduced pace, just to get the distance done and know I can do it!

    I guess if I've got the bug, losing toenails might become more common then! (yuck). 


  • You can fix it quickly if you learn how to self-treat, the nail is lost when you get a pressure under the nail, you can pop this with a sterile needle which is quite painless but it will instantly relieve the pain, they'll do it at A&E for you also, this will help recovery and may retain the nail, but welcome to running,

    looking ahead to 6th Oct I guess it won't be a problem  

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