The further you run, the more they fall off… Here’s the first in our series on those things every runner earns
Medals of honour: The black toenail
What: Pretty much everyone who is doing longer distances, or hill running, will know what it’s like to look down at their feet and see a black toe, a loose toenail, or several of each.
It can be a bit of a surprise when it first happens, although there’s nothing quite like taking off your sock after a run and having to search for a missing toenail.
How: The pressure on the toes and toenails, either from a tight shoe or sock, or from the thousands of steps put in week after week, causes blood blisters and fluid to build up under the nail. There can be pain when it first happens, but that will usually ease off.
Gradually, the old nail will be pushed out by a new one. That new one might be a bit twisted and warped at first, but it will smooth out in time.
Prevention: Make sure you’ve got the right footwear – not too tight but not too loose either.
There’s some online advice about sterilising and heating paper clips until red hot, and piercing the blister. Ignore this advice.