Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Running: How to Keep From Losing a Toenail

Every year, when I increase my weekly running mileage (usually in the fall when I'm preparing for a race), I end up bruising the second toe on my right foot. Always just that one toe--and no, it's not longer than my big toe. (Is this too much information? Feet are kinda icky, but I did refrain from posting a picture. Be grateful!) And then, a few months later, I end up losing that toenail when the other grows in fully underneath. So far, there seems to be no long-term damage, but I've done this probably the past seven years in a row, and it can't be too good for me.

I've tried buying my shoes in a half size bigger. If I go any bigger, I fear I'll trip over them.

I made sure I wasn't digging my toes in (which I had been doing) to push off as I got tired. That took some practice.

I tried ramping up my mileage so it's not all at once. Doesn't seem to help. Somewhere around that 7 mile mark, the inevitable happens and I end up with a purple toenail...which is why I started painting them all purple in the fall, that and I like purple.

I went to a runners' store and had someone fit my foot. They watched me run, analyzed my running pattern, etc., and that didn't help, either.

Then last week, a friend and my ninja class teacher (okay, it's aerobics, but it feels like ninja class to me), showed me this trick. "It's all in the lacing," she said. "Doing this will force your foot to stay in the heel cup." (See picture for a demo.)

So I tried it, and what do you know? I think it just might work. It'll take some getting used to because I'm awfully particular about how my shoes are laced. They have to have the same amount of pressure on each foot and all that.... But it'll be worth it if I can prevent the toe bruising!

And to think it was just that simple!