How To Prevent Black Toenails (Besides Bigger Shoes)

If you’re a long distance runner, you know black toenails are common. We all joke about it.

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But hey, it happens.

My mom has suffered from black toenails/toenails falling off since we started training for longer races. No matter what, it would happen. She tried sizing up in shoes…and sizing up again. But nothing helped.

Then we went to the local shoe store, and a new guy was working who gave us THE ANSWER!

Do you get black toenails? Here's a tip for stopping that from happening!

The sneaker store employee told her to rub BodyGlide or Vaseline on her toes and toenails before the run.

She has been doing that since, and has not had throbbing toenails or black toenails. He told us that sometimes black toenails happen because of the friction between your toes and socks. It is similar to getting blisters.

So now you know…

Other tips for preventing black toenails include:

  • Trying a bigger shoesize. You should have about a thumb’s width space in the front of the shoe (from your biggest toe).
  • Trim your toenails regularly.
  • Wear wicking socks so your feet are dry. Wet socks (as with any wet clothing on your body) can cause chafing and blistering.
  • And a tip for your feet in general: don’t get rid of your callouses! I hate that part of pedicures anyway so I have no problem asking them not to do it. But yes…leave your callouses alone. You need those to prevent blisters :)

Do you get or have you gotten black toenails? Or lost toenails?

What other things would you say are “runner probs?” :) Hmm…I’d say chafing in general. Despite using BodyGlide I still chafe around the outlines of my sports bra…so attractive!


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  1. I love my calluses, and hate pedicures, so I’m safe. Ha.
    My toes point up, so I’ve also changed the lacing of my shoes and it’s really helped with bruised toenails.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Thinking Out LoudMy Profile

  2. How interesting! I haven’t suffered from black toenails, but if I ever do I’ll give this a try.
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Fit, Focused & Fun Finds (from around the web!) #39My Profile

  3. I’m fortunate to not have traditional runners feet. I have never lost a toenail, gotten a blister or had a black toenail. I would cringe if it ever happened!! aah!
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…A Q& A with Olympic Gold Medalist LaShawn MerrittMy Profile

  4. I’ve never had a black toenail, but at my last race I got blisters mid run. I stopped and got some vaseline and rubbed it on my toes. Worked like a charm! (Yes, I ran with a tiny thing of vaseline with me!)
    Cristina @triathlonmami recently posted…Product Review: Timex Ironman ONE GPS +My Profile

  5. I am an expert of “black toe-nails” and “losing toe-nails”! He is right Vaseline and trimming regularly is the key. Gearing up for my next marathon training…hope I can keep all 10 this time! :)

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