Health

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Another day, another toenail

Comments (15)
By Peter Hadzipetros

Had one of those red-letter days late last week. Actually, it was black and it was a toenail. One that fell off — with a little help. Finally.

Noticed it while I lounged on the couch during a lengthy phone conversation after a shower that followed a 10 K slog on an especially soupy Toronto evening.

Something didn't quite look right with that gnarly nail on the second toe of my left foot. A different kind of "not looking right" from the past two years, when it was merely a discoloured turtle-shell of a toenail. There was a bit of an upward angle to it. And it felt a bit wiggly — like a loose tooth.

So I wiggled it and off it popped, revealing a brand-spanking new pinkish toenail. Ah, the rites of summer.

Battering and eventually losing a toenail or two when you run a lot — or do other intense exercise that involves your feet — is as common as hurling golf clubs into water hazards when you continually hit those hazards with golf balls. Especially in the summer.

You get black toenails when your shoes or socks put too much pressure on your toes during sustained exercise. The constant moving of your feet creates friction between the toenail and the tissue surrounding. You might break a few capillaries, allowing blood to accumulate underneath the nail giving it that black colour. You might experience some pain — you might not.

Eventually, the toenail will fall off and a new one will take its place. That new one might not be quite as pretty as the original, but eventually it should look fairly normal.

It's one of the reasons runners are pretty anal about their toenails. If you don't keep them as short as comfortably possible, you'll increase your odds of blackening your toenails. The topic burns up forums on sites frequented by runners.

If you don't like the look of black toenails, you can treat the condition yourself — by inserting a red-hot needle into the middle of your toenail and squeezing the trapped blood out. But you — or your doctor — would have to do it soon after first noticing the discoloured nail.

Of course, you could ignore it, wear sandals and show it off until nature runs its course and it falls off.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments (15)

adriana mckay

noc

I am so relieved that black toe nails are normal. I just finished running a first 1/2 marathon and noticed the next day that my second toe hurt and my jaw hurt. My toe is now purple..no more pain, but looks like death. I'm hoping this won't cause too much of a problem for the triathlon I'm doing in a month. Can you still run with a warped toe?

Posted June 20, 2009 11:56 AM

Ginny Lester

Hi Y'all,

I'm not a runner or a walker other than walking normal. But I have a toe that is turning black. Glad to know it's nothing to worry about, but it is rather disconcerting at first. Toenails will grow back unless the matrix is damaged. Don't let anyone kill the matrix, doctor or not. The toenail will grow back and will be a little bumpy but disappears as the nail grows and grows and you clip and clip. Happy nail growing and clipping and running and walking and so on.

Posted December 4, 2008 11:30 AM

Be4819

Canada

so i kinda have the same problem but my toenails didn't turn black they turned yellow and started to loosen and 2 Have fallen off already and two more are loosening and it's really gross. Unlike some of you i don't run but i do walk alot. I don't know if i should go to the doctor or something. But i just thought i would share that with you all.

Posted October 20, 2008 04:25 AM

selene

az

I have a question.....I also did a lot of walking for 3 days and as you can already imagine...I got blisters under my nails...well juts on my big toes. I went to the podiatrist and he told me that my nails are dead and that he would have to remove them...but they would never grow back again....apparently they put a medicine to make them not ever grow...is that normal? Or can they grow back if I just let them fall off on their own?

Posted August 14, 2008 06:59 PM

Jacqui

Regina

Glad to hear my black toenail is a common occurence. I've upped my running in recent months preparing for a marathon and one day while changing my nailpolish noticed the black nail. I thought it would just go away and then one of my sisters freaked me out into thinking I had cancer!! I hid the nail again and am just waiting to see if it will fall off ... I'd heard about black toes and now I know I'm not gonna die anytime soon!!

Posted July 28, 2008 05:42 PM

Suzy

Seattle

I'm a year too late to join the party, but have the same question as a poster above.. I was in a bad bike accident 2 1/2 months ago and I banged my toe badly.. well now my other injuries have healed and my toe nail is falling out and it's creepy. I heard (a myth?) that sometimes they don't grow back. Is that true?

Also funny, because unless I pull of my nail, I feel like I can ONLY wear flipflps or else the nail will rub and hurt my foot. Gross I know. :(

Posted July 6, 2008 05:39 AM

Jen

Hi,
I'm training for a marathon in June and a few months ago I noticed that 2 of my toenails were bruised and my toes hurt all the time. I bought bigger shoes and still my toes hurt and then I noiced that there was dried blood behind 2 of the nails. A foot dr told me that you can drain the blood when the injury's fresh; no luck in my case because my toenails are always painted red, so it hid the bruise for a while.
Well, Sunday I bumped my toe and I later realized that the nail from one toe fell off. The other bruised nail is still attached. I'm happy to say that the pain from one toe is gone, but now there's a "mini" toenail composed of hardened blood in its place; it goes great with my pedicure. Ha!
Anyway, the coagulated mass looks like it's pushed up from the nailbed. I'm wondering if anyone knows what will happen next? Will that bloody thing fall off when a new nail starts to grow back? Or will the new nail grow behind the blood? Or, I hope not!, will the new nail grow over the dried blood?
Sorry I can't attach a pic to this forum; it's a funny sight. ;-)
Thanks for your comments and advice.
Peace,
Jen

Posted May 8, 2008 01:42 AM

Margot

Canada

Well I don't feel so bad. Walk at least 10 to 20 K a day and lost two toenails. Have New Balance cross trainers that have never bothered my feet when I ran 6 k, so it have to do with distance.

Posted December 3, 2007 10:05 AM

jamilee@gte.net

Dallas,TX

I am a running priss. DO THEY GROW BACK FOR SURE? I just had one fall off and it is freaking me out!!!!!!!!

Posted October 2, 2007 04:34 PM

johnny longsleeves

Mississauga

Just got my first black toe nail, ever.

After my run, I trimmed the excess nail away and a red ooze exited from the top of the nail. It's sore, but I can still run. Yeah!!

Posted September 14, 2007 01:02 PM

Jenny

Jasper,alabama

yeah umm i kinda had the same thing happen to me,except i hit my little toe on a bench at church camp and i did not think anything about it then it started bleeding then a few weeks later the toenail turned black then it got loose and as of right now my toenail is sticking up and should fall off in like a day or two...but its pretty gross, i can not wait till my toenail grows back because i want to wear flip flops again.

Posted July 23, 2007 01:01 AM

Percy Fox

Toronto

I think I speak for others when I say "eewwwww!" However, it's another fascinating look at something I, a non-runner, would never otherwise have heard about. Thanks... I guess.

Posted July 16, 2007 06:30 PM

Scavok

Sounds like Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly". Can you walk on the ceiling yet?

Posted July 16, 2007 02:25 PM

Natalie Anne Lanoville

I've never had black toenails, but I have two that are permanently split down the middle from running.

Posted July 15, 2007 03:21 AM

Melanie

Toronto

Uch - this is sooooo gross! But it's something people should know about (like male runners and bleeding nipples - there's your next blog post btw).

I have not had to deal with the dreaded black toenails but then I don't log as much mileage as you do. I suspect that this is a problem that plagues more marathoners than anybody else (as the only folks I've heard from about this are marathoners). Now that I'm training for my first I'm on high alert!

Also, different shoes have different lasts. New Balance has a huge toe box. Asics is more pointy. I wonder if different lasts (narrow vs wide) contribute? I would think so ...

Posted July 12, 2007 05:48 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Back of the Pack »

About the Author

Peter HadzipetrosPeter Hadzipetros is a producer for the Consumer and Health sites of CBC News Online. Until he got off the couch and got into long distance running a few years ago, he was a net importer of calories.

More from Peter Hadzipetros »

Recent Posts

Keep on exercising
Peter Hadzipetros
Friday, May 29, 2009
Massage: not all it's cracked up to be?
Peter Hadzipetros
Friday, May 8, 2009
Sports drinks: playing with your brain
Peter Hadzipetros
Friday, April 17, 2009
Exactly what do you mean by moderate?
Peter Hadzipetros
Friday, March 20, 2009
Share the road
Peter Hadzipetros
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Subscribe to this blog

Recent Comments

I am so relieved that black toe nails are normal. I just...
Another day, another toenail
Hi Y'all, I'm not a runner or a walker other tha...
Another day, another toenail
so i kinda have the same problem but my toenails didn't t...
Another day, another toenail
I have a question.....I also did a lot of walking for 3 d...
Another day, another toenail
Glad to hear my black toenail is a common occurence. I'v...
Another day, another toenail

Archives

May 2009 (2)
April 2009 (1)
March 2009 (1)
February 2009 (1)
January 2009 (1)
December 2008 (1)
September 2008 (1)
July 2008 (2)
June 2008 (2)
May 2008 (1)
April 2008 (2)
February 2008 (1)
January 2008 (2)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (4)
October 2007 (3)
September 2007 (3)
August 2007 (3)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (5)
May 2007 (3)
April 2007 (6)
March 2007 (3)
February 2007 (6)
January 2007 (7)
December 2006 (2)
November 2006 (3)
October 2006 (3)
September 2006 (4)
August 2006 (5)
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

How Europe's heroin capital solved its overdose crisis
A decade ago, Portugal had a heroin problem. It decided to deal with it by decriminalizing drug use and focusing on harm reduction and treatment. A CBC News special report looks at what lessons the country’s experiment holds for Canada’s own opioid crisis.
Trump signals Mexico wall funding may wait several months for more pressing concerns video
U.S. President Donald Trump indicated an openness on Monday to delaying his push to secure funds for his promised border wall with Mexico, potentially eliminating a sticking point as lawmakers worked to avoid a looming shutdown of the federal government.
Aviation officer gives his version of United flight passenger removal video
The physician dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago this month was verbally and physically abusive, and flailing his arms before he lost his balance and struck his mouth on an armrest, according to the aviation officer who pulled the man out of his seat.
more »

Canada »

Live Canada determined to fight back as softwood lumber duties begin anew video
Canadian government and industry officials are set to fire back Tuesday after the U.S. Commerce Department hit softwood lumber imports with duties ranging from three to 24 per cent. CBC News will live stream federal and provincial reaction starting at 1 p.m. ET.
CBC Investigates 'I want someone to take my pain': Woman set on fire by husband denied home insurance payout video
Wendy Soczek won her fight for survival after her husband intentionally set her on fire back in 2010. But earlier this month, she lost her legal fight for a payout from her insurance company to fix her home.
'Get lined up': Alberta gas producer's demise leaves long list of creditors and costly messes video
Lexin Resources leaves behind more than 1,500 wells to be sold or cleaned and a list of debt that adds up to millions of dollars. So who will be left with the bill?
more »

Politics »

Live Canada determined to fight back as softwood lumber duties begin anew video
Canadian government and industry officials are set to fire back Tuesday after the U.S. Commerce Department hit softwood lumber imports with duties ranging from three to 24 per cent. CBC News will live stream federal and provincial reaction starting at 1 p.m. ET.
Updated Defence lawyers urge Supreme Court not to waver on steps to tackle justice system delays
Defence lawyers urged Supreme Court of Canada justices today not to tinker with their controversial ruling that imposed strict timeframes to ensure an accused criminal's right to a speedy trial.
Some Canadian bank record information being sent directly to IRS
Thousands of reports containing confidential Canadian banking information records have been sent directly to the U.S Internal Revenue Service, without the Canadian government's knowledge.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Scott Baio explains 'if you do drugs or drink, you're going to die' remarks after Erin Moran's death
Scott Baio says he was responding to media reports when he suggested the death of his former Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi co-star, Erin Moran, may have been due to substance abuse problems.
Divorcing co-hosts of HGTV's Flip or Flop to return for show's 7th season
HGTV announced late Monday that Tarek and Christina El Moussa will be back on the show for a 20-episode run beginning in December.
Jazz great Ella Fitzgerald remembered on her 100th birthday audio
B.C. jazz musicians celebrate what would be the 100th birthday of jazz icon and "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald. The famous musician passed away at
more »

Technology & Science »

Fiat Chrysler expands Google self-driving car fleet to 500
​Fiat Chrysler and Google for the first time will offer rides to the public in the self-driving vehicles they are building under an expanding partnership, with Google expanding its fleet to 500 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans.
Murdered woman's Fitbit logged steps after husband said she died
​Police in Connecticut have cited Fitbit records in an arrest warrant for a 40-year-old man charged with killing his wife in 2015.
Arctic climate warming higher and faster than expected
A new international report shows that Arctic temperatures are rising higher and faster than expected, and the effects are already being felt around the world.
more »

Money »

Rent control measures could lead some Ontario condo investors to sell: report
New rent control measures unveiled last week by the Ontario government could wind up pushing some small investors out of the condominium market, according to a new report.
Updated Wells Fargo faces shareholders, protesters at annual meeting
Wells Fargo's top management faced a series of protesters and apologized to investors Tuesday, but board members kept their jobs, at the first big shareholder meeting since a scandal over sales practices erupted.
McCain hash browns in U.S. recalled due to presence of 'extraneous golf ball materials'
The American division of McCain Foods is recalling several brands of frozen hash browns because they may be contaminated with "extraneous golf ball materials."
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
McDavid prepares to go head-to-head with Ducks agitator Kesler video
What is Connor McDavid's reward for helping the Oilers dispose of San Jose in his first-ever Stanley Cup playoff series? Another dose of NHL irritant Ryan Kesler and the big and heavy Anaheim Ducks in Round 2, starting Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Preview NHL playoffs: How the Canadian teams stack up in Round 2
It appears it's anyone's Stanley Cup to win after a wide-open start to the NHL playoffs. Here's how the two remaining Canadian teams, Edmonton and Ottawa, match up with their Round 2 foes.
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Full TV schedule and results
The Ottawa Senators continue their post-season push against the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins renew a heated rivalry with the Washington Capitals in the second-round NHL playoff coverage on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »