THE CLINIC: Tender Toes

Tue, 4 Sept. 2012 - 11:48 p.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

QUESTION:

I'm training for a marathon and my second toe keeps getting bruised beneath the nail. It's extremely tender. What causes this? I didn't notice it during my lower mileage weeks, but now the end of the toe is also getting severely blistered. My second toe is shorter than my big toe, so it shouldn't be hitting the end of the shoe. How can I relieve the pressure?

 

Gail Caputo

Northridge, CA

 

ANSWER:

You may have adequate room at the end of the shoe, but not at the top. Make sure you're running in shoes with a high toe box. If your toe is overextending and rubbing on the top of the toe box, you can try increased Achilles tendon stretching. You might also experiment with taping down the toe.

 

If the problem is due to excessive flexing or gripping of the toes, it would be generating from the bottom of the shoe. In this case, you may be hyperpronating and require an orthotic.

 

A company called PediFix (www.pedifix.com) makes a silicone sleeve that fits over the toe and may help to reduce the friction, regardless of the cause.

 

Robert Hallivis, DPM

Annandale, VA 

 

ANSWER:

I believe you're experiencing recurrent subungual hematomas beneath the toenail. I suggest you apply petroleum jelly to the toe and then cover the foot with one or two pairs of socks. This will help lubricate and reduce friction in the area. Then have your shoes stretched by a shoemaker, or purchase shoes with a larger toe box. Taping the toe to a neighboring toe is a good idea. You may also reduce the thickness of the insole to allow more space for the effected toe. As a last resort you could have the toenail removed permanently.

 

Alex Kor, DPM, MS

Hickory, NC

 

 

DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

The American Running Association (ARA) and its Clinic Advisory Board disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any consequences suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. ARA does not endorse specifically any test, treatment, or procedure mentioned on this site.

 

(RUNNING & FITNEWS®July/ August 2008 • Volume 26, Number 4)




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