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TOPIC: Toenails Fall Off

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March 28, 2012 6:11 AM
I've seen many folks say they lose toe nails from running. Guess I gotta ask how and why?
March 28, 2012 6:12 AM
My sister was running in ill-fitting shoes and she lots some nails. That would be my guess.

I just trained and ran my first half and didn't lose any nails, didn't even get a blister! That's good shoes!
March 28, 2012 6:14 AM
It can be lack of decent shoes.
It can also be from running down extreme inclines, that's how I lost mine last year.

Good shoes and keeping your toenails clipped short should help with a majority of it though..
Edited by TylerJ76 On March 28, 2012 6:14 AM
March 28, 2012 6:17 AM

It can be lack of decent shoes.
It can also be from running down extreme inclines, that's how I lost mine last year.

Good shoes and keeping your toenails clipped short should help with a majority of it though..

I would have to agree with this. When I'm doing long runs, this is the biggest thing thath helps me from losing my nails!
March 28, 2012 6:19 AM
It's pretty common. If you have lost a toenail before you are more susceptible on that toe. It's a combination of friction and other forces. I think you can have fairly good shoes and still lose them. "some" runners have their toenails removed!!!??? It's sort of a joke amoung long distance runners..who needs toenails anyhow!! ;-)
March 28, 2012 6:20 AM
It seems to be more of a problem with longer distance runners. I've never experienced it by some of my marathon running friends have even with shoes that fit extremely well.
March 28, 2012 6:21 AM
The same thing happens when hiking. Losing toenails is common when doing serious back country hiking. The force on the toes from going down a mountain puts lots of strain on the toenails. They fall off, but grow back.
March 28, 2012 6:22 AM
Lots of runners get "black toe" from long distance running...which is basically a bruise under the toe nail which kills the nail and it eventually falls off. My love has this problem...he runs 10 miles a day. He recently went to get custom fit sneaks...the dude told him that it can happen for runners even if they're wearing the right shoes.

Oh well...I'm just glad I can paint mine if that happens! drinker

Good luck!
Edited by phillieschic On March 28, 2012 6:23 AM
March 28, 2012 6:23 AM
If you're running frequently or doing long distances, it's best to buy shoes 1/2 size larger than what you normally wear. This in addition to keeping your toenails short will prevent the "runner's toenail" and the occasional fall-off.
March 28, 2012 6:23 AM
awww man! dont tell me that! I will stop c25k right now. I dont want to lose my toenails :(
March 28, 2012 6:23 AM
Ive lost them from skiing-- ill fitting boots- too loose, and toenails not cropped short enough.... at least that is what I have been told... "toe bang" or "toe pull" (nail gets caught in liner and toe moves down).
March 28, 2012 6:24 AM
I'm in the process of losing a toenail right now, but it's cause I'm clumsy as hell and fell down the steps. When I started looking for info about the potential of losing the nail, the best info I got was from running sites.
March 28, 2012 6:24 AM
I trained with Team in Traning for several marathons and half marathons (you see them at most major races in the purple running shirts)- thier coaches and staff are great about preparing you for endurance events- and they wil assist you in selecting shoes- even with guidance, we still had many team members who lost toe nails- so I would caution that it is not only about shoe selection- might have something to do with the constant pounding as you run, or just the length of time you are running/walking for such a long period...

Also, I am inherently cheap, so I do not get the best shoes myself (bad choice, I know) and I have never lost any nails (1 full marathon and 11 halfs under my belt).... who knows what causes it for certain!

Good luck with your trianing!
March 28, 2012 6:24 AM
I've lost nails from hiking with a 70lb pack for 3 days, it took about 1 yr for them to grow back in - it was from boot camp and I was wearing... jungle boots - I changed socks regularly but still had a lot of blisters and lost some nails - everyone did. It could be from distance running I'm guessing.
March 28, 2012 6:25 AM
That happened to me last year but not because of running. I was wearing ill-fitting shoes and one of my toenails just fell off. So gross. I had to go through all of last summer painting my skin! EEEWWW!!!
March 28, 2012 6:25 AM
I get this every summer from running- bruising under the toenail and then it falls off
March 28, 2012 6:25 AM
The most I have run in one time is 7 miles. I ran everyday, miles varied for over a year and never had any problems. Now I take a break through the winter months and run in the nicer weather outside. Running outside is more enjoyable for me. I don't know if its my shoes or even how I land on my feet. I run lots of different size hills and still have yet to lose a toenail.
March 28, 2012 6:26 AM
I agree with others. I've lost 2 and am going to lose a 3rd. The first two were from wearing my normal size shoe in sneakers when running - you should really wear 1/2 size up in sneakers. So I wear an 8 1/2 shoe, but a 9 running shoe. The other culprit was I had ran a hilly! 15k race. And all those hills helped contribute to my toes getting "runner's toe".

Things you can do to help prevent are the 1/2 size up in shoes, keeping nails clipped, and if you have a toe that you regularly have an issue with wear a band aid going over the tip of the toe and then one going around it to keep it in place. The band aid will give it extra cushion to help prevent the irritation and thus the blister that forms resulting in your toe nail falling off.

If you do get a blister it can take months for the toe nail to actually fall off. Again wear band aids so the toe is not as irritated and file your toe nail the wrong way so that the toe nail becomes thinner at the tip of the nail and it will put less pressure on your toes when you have shoes on.

p.s. hope it never happens to you.
March 28, 2012 6:26 AM
I'm starting to feel a little bitter...after 18 months since starting C25K as well as training for and running a 1/2 and full marathon, I STILL HAVE ALL MY TOENAILS! I feel left out, lol! OK, maybe not so much. I think good and proper fitting shoes/socks make a world of difference. I've managed all of this with only 1 blister so far and it was after using a different pair of socks on an 18 miler, other than that I've been pretty fortunate.
March 28, 2012 6:28 AM
I've run about 3000 miles in the last 22 months and I still have all of my nails (although one does look kind of gnarly).
But, a friend of mine had to get one removed - it turned black underneath but refused to fall off.
March 28, 2012 6:28 AM
I have run several half marathons and only had this happen with my last one. I wear very good shoes, so I'm not sure why it happened this time. Good news is it does grow back though wink
March 28, 2012 6:29 AM
Seriously?!?! I never heard that before. I am just getting back into running but I used to run nearly every day and never heard that. I didn't run long distances though (3 mi max) and always keep my tonails super short. Wow, you really do learn something new every day.
March 28, 2012 6:32 AM

That happened to me last year but not because of running. I was wearing ill-fitting shoes and one of my toenails just fell off. So gross. I had to go through all of last summer painting my skin! EEEWWW!!!

Ewwwwwwww......Hahahaha!! Sorry, that's not funny. Hope your toenail is intact and cute again!!

I remember a quote from a show a million years ago, "Just paint the skin." I can't remember the show/movie though.
March 28, 2012 6:50 AM
I'm a long distance walker (the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks) and lost a toenail after my last walk (never had before.) My toenails were too long. The nail hits the top of the shoe repeatedly, gets bruised, and then after a new nail grows in its place, the old one falls off. I wasn't ever without a nail... just a little baby nail grew in underneath after a few months. It wasn't that bad.

But yes, get good shoes, a half size bigger, and keep your nails trimmed very short!


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