Happy Runner’s Feet: Top Tips To Prevent Ingrown Toenails Ruining Your Run!

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Happy Runner’s Feet: Top Tips To Prevent Ingrown Toenails Ruining Your Run!

As a runner, no doubt you know only too well the damage that injuries can do to your running regime. Injuries such as IT band issues, plantar fasciitis, and achilles injuries can stop you in your tracks. However, one extremely common running injury, which is often overlooked is the occurrence of ingrown toenails.

Our physiotherapy partners, Apex Clinic Belfast, includes the services of chiropody and podiatry at its Stormont-based practice. Here Apex Clinic’s experienced chiropodist Narelle Harkness, discusses how to prevent and treat ingrown toenails to keep your feet happy and healthy.

Causes of ingrown toenails

The toenails play a key role in offering protection for the sensitive nail bed. However, that role is compromised if the nail splinters and begins to grow or is pushed into the soft, tender tissue around it. The sharp, needle-like surface of the toenail can easily puncture the toe’s skin causing extreme pain and can even lead to infection if left untreated.

People with convex shaped toes are more susceptible to the injury but anyone can get one, particularly runners, who spend a lot of time in tight shoes. When running, significant pressure is placed on the toe, which can exacerbate ingrown toenail problems, meaning runners are at a higher risk of suffering from them.

Top tips for prevention

Thankfully, ingrown toenails are relatively easy to prevent, with the help of three techniques:

  1. Cut your nails carefully

The best way to prevent ingrown toenails forming is by taking care of them. When it comes to cutting your toenails, never go too short. Cut across in a straight line using sharp, straight-edged toe nail clippers. Avoid cutting the nail into an oval shape, which leads to the edges curving downwards into the side of the toes. Don’t cut your nails when they are wet as they are more likely to tear and create jagged edges. After cutting, use a nail file to carefully smooth the top of the nail to remove any rough edges.

  1. Your footwear matters

In runners, the leading cause of ingrown toenails is ill-fitting footwear, especially if they’re too tight around the toes. This applies to not only your running shoes but also your everyday footwear choices. When shopping for footwear, try on shoes in the afternoon, when your feet are at their largest and wear athletic socks to gain a good idea of fit. If you frequently suffer from ingrown toenails, choose wide-toed or open-toed shoes where possible.

  1. Avoid the old-wives’ tale

When it comes to cutting your toenails, skip the old wives’ tale of cutting them into a V-shaped wedge in the middle of the nail’s top edge. The theory behind this is that the sides will grow toward the open centre and avoid the ingrown edge. However, this is not true and cutting it in this shape can still lead the the nail becoming ingrown, as nails grow outward from the base.

Help is at a hand

If left untreated, what seems like a minor foot problem can quickly ruin your running regime.  At Apex Clinic our chiropody and podiatry services are extremely popular with runners seeking treatment for a wide range of foot problems.

We can treat ingrown toenails and have you back running pain-free. Don’t let your ingrown toenail stop you in your tracks…