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Bruised Toe Nails


Injured toenails are not only painful and an ugly sight to look at, but can end up infected as well—the warm, moist environment inside your shoes is the perfect home for bacteria.


The cause of toenail injuries is  the repeated impacts that occur with each step.  After the initial impact with the ground, there is a brief moment where your shoe has come to a stop but your foot inside  has not.  Your foot slides forward, usually only by a small amount, but this causes your toenails to take the brunt of the impact with the toebox of your shoe.  Additional stress is applied to your toenails when you push off from the ground, as your toes “claw” at the ground to gain additional propulsion.


  • Keep your shoes laced snug, but not too tight, and making sure the toebox is large enough to keep pressure off of your nails, even after extended periods of running where your feet have swelled up a bit.
    • Use the lace lock to secure your foot in the shoe can also be helpful, as it reduces the distance your foot slides inside of your shoe. check out our video
    • Keeping your toenails trimmed short and square (not curved) will also help evenly distribute stress on your toe.  If you’ve already got a blackened and bruised toenail, you can leave it alone if it isn’t bothering your running.  If  it is, you can try soaking in warm water to relieve some of the irritation.
    • Draining the fluid under the nail— by a podiatrist— should be done as soon as possible, it can prevent the problem from getting worse, or losing your toenail entirely (which is not as bad as it sounds).
    • Finally, you should be aware that some other skin and foot problems can masquerade as jogger’s toe. A fungal infection of the nail, can also cause a toenail to appear discolored and bruised. While it can be treated, as the fungus is embedded within the nail itself, it does need to be positively diagnosed by a podiatrist.