Losing toenails are not like losing teeth (Read 1867 times)

    I'm sure it's been mentioned earlier in the thread (I'm lazy), but it's not only hitting the end of the shoe that can blacken a nail.  If the "roof is too low", as it were, your nail(s) also can rub against the top of the toebox material and become irritated.  For some, the side of a toenail can contact the shoe and blacken it (e.g. a 4th toe).


    I found Superfeet insoles raised the footbed and effectively lowered the height of the shoe's interior.  Someone with "high volume" feet (or whatever the term is) could see problems in that scenario.

    "I want you to pray as if everything depends on it, but I want you to prepare yourself as if everything depends on you."

    -- Dick LeBeau

      In very long ultras it can also just be the trauma of your foot hitting the ground so often that causes it - sometimes it has little to do with shoe fit - but that is only in very long runs. 


      MTA _ as DB said earlier, this may be something to do with your normal stride breaking down.

        In very long ultras it can also just be the trauma of your foot hitting the ground so often that causes it - sometimes it has little to do with shoe fit - but that is only in very long runs. 


          yeah that was my understanding too based on reading I've done, it's your foot hitting the ground. 

        Best Present Ever

          I have two toes that hurt when I run over a couple of hours -- i have a bit of fungus in those toenails and the nails have changed shape. If I cut them as short as possible it helps some, but they always ache eventually.  

            Sorry, I'm missing the point here I think. So you are saying that the shoe doesn't fit right and that is why I get black toenails? I wear orthotics and one time that I bought shoes a half size larger than my regular shoe, my pedorthist told me to get even larger shoes. So I just assumed that my toes shouldn't touch the end.



            Let me explain what I mean; but first...


            Interesting article:



            A very interesting read.  Some good points; some mixed feeling...  First, mixed feeling.  Personally I very much highly doubt black toe nail is caused by "swinging forward" action.  It may contribute some, and an interesting theory; but highly doubt it.  Slamming your foot to the ground (as happens when landing on your heel), maybe.  He (Jeff) goes on to say that shoes too small is not a reason for black toe nail; yet he recommends getting roomier shoes--AT LEAST a half an inch bigger.  If the pressure from the top is not the primary cause, why this suggestion?  That doesn't make sense.  


            A good point on your body position when testing the shoe.  Yes, make sure you're not just sitting.  But standing is not enough.  What you actually need to do is to make your foot in a position where your foot is right before take-off (toes bent) because this is the point at which your toes (particularly big toes) get closest to the tip of the shoe.  You do this and make sure there's no "excess" pressure point.  So you do this and sit down and check your shoe; you MAY have a half an inch extra room at the end of this shoe, I don't know.  But the point is; this is why you MAY need extra space (well, okay, swelling fact as well).  Just getting bigger and bigger shoe without understanding why you do so just won't cut it with me.  


            I saw your comment yesterday so I checked my shoes, at the end of my run last night.  I actually thought these are a bit roomier shoes (ASICS Tarther from Japan) but, when I checked it, there was hardly any "extra" room at the tip of my toes at all.  But the thing is; I hardly notice it when I run!!  This is mainly because the shoe fits my feet so well.  Now, my feet may not swell up as much as some other people, I don't know.  But the point is; you go to the store and check track spike shoes; you'll see plastic teeth at the end of the plastic plate.  This is because this is where you toe-off (literally).  The last part of your foot to leave the ground is the tip of your toes.  Imagine you have the empty flapping area a half an inch or more there...  You can't even grip the ground!  With all this talk about barefoot running, now people are (FINALLY!) talking about how toes must spread out to grip the ground in order to generate the power.  Imagine you have an extra "flapper" there...  It's almost like you're trying to "kick" on trampoline!  Your power will be absorbed through.  


            Now, I know, for DECADES, you've been told that you'd have to have extra space at the end of the toes, get a half or full size bigger shoes for running.  In fact, I remember this girl I was coaching, she was told at the store to get women's size 10 (yeah, she's a big girl).  I told her that's completely stupid, she went back, change the shoes and...for the rest of her "running career", she'd been fine with 8.5!  When she came to me with size 10, it was like coaching Charlie Chaplin!!  I don't understand why running store specialist (supposedly) would do things like that...  But, at any rate, you may feel scared to wear shoes that tight (especially if you're used to wearing too big of a shoe).  But the point is; you SHOULD BE ABLE TO IF THE SHOE IS BALANCED...and fits your foot.  Imagine this; so you wear shoes that's too pointy at the end.  Now your toes, particularly big toes, will be pushed down.  THAT is how you get excess pressure and get black toe nail.  Or you get shoes that's not properly balanced in the forefoot and the toe box is too flat.  Now they have a U-shape reinforcement to keep the forefoot area like a box (remember the original Waffle Trainer only had a strip reinforcement at the tip of the shoe?).  You hold the shoe and try to (slightly) bend backwards (pulling toe and heel "out") as if you are making a pointy toes like a ballet dancer.  Some shoe keeps this "box" UP, some completely collapse.  If it collapses, it'll push your big toe down.  Some shoes (a lot of them) are too straight to the shape of the foot.  If you try to squeeze something curved (banana-shaped) into something too straight, something is going to be pushed out.  If it's outer edge, the base of your little toe, then you'll supinate.  If the heel part gets pushed out (inwardly), then you'll pronate.  If the heel cup is so rigid, which a lot of shoe manufacturers try to do because it "prevent pronation" which, in actuality, you can easily prevent if you build the shape of the shoe correctly, then the other end, tip of your toes, will be twisted inwardly.  So what's going to be jammed into the wall of the shoe?  Bingo!!  Big toe!!


            There are several other adverse "side effects" of wearing the shoes too big.  It's too loose so your foot starts to move around inside; jamming into the wall of the shoe, particularly toes when the foot slide forward at each "landing".  So to try to avoid that, many people tie their shoes too tight.  What happens then?  They get neuroma on the top of the foot.  Or now because the shoe is built as the shape of the foot and the shoe is one-size (or several sizes) too big; now the widest part of the shoe doesn't fit into the widest part of the foot.  What happens then is to get the (in general in most cases) inside (medial side) front end of arch gets blisters from excess rubbing.  Are you getting the picture?


            Far too many people, so-called "professional" or "expert" at the running store (who gets, what, $10 an hour?) tell you, almost as a almighty solution; "wear bigger size shoes".  In actuality, it creates whole set of new problems.  None of these would have to happen IF the shoe is balanced and the shape of the shoe fits the shape of your foot.  

              I bought my fiance a toe cap.  His second toe is longer, and the nail gets black and blue and painful.   Anywho,  it was like $3 on Amazon. It's a silicon toe sleeve, and he says it works perfectly.


              I just bought him 2 more.

              - Anya