Why runners should cut their toenails

runners and toenails

runners and toenails

Don’t worry, I’m going to spare you the photos of my manky toenails. Nobody needs to see them. Unless you’ve got a foot fetish, in which case, there’s websites catering for that.

But I am going to talk to you about the importance of cutting your toenails. Especially if you’re a runner. It’s so easy to forget and most of us don’t do it as often as we should, but the fact remains that too-long toenails can completely ruin a run.

Why? Feet move when we run. Too-long toenails will rub against neighbouring toes. If you’re lucky, they’ll just rub and get a bit sore. If you’re unlucky, they’ll cut the neighbouring toe and continue to do so for the remainder of your run. I forgot to cut my toenails before a marathon once and limped my way through the second half in agony. When I removed my socks at the end, I was greeted with congealed blood and a very manky toe. You’d think that after this experience that I would learn, but I didn’t. I once again forgot to cut my toenails on Saturday night and took part in the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust Olympic Park 10k on Sunday. At around 7k, I started to feel a sting and by 8k, I knew what had happened. Luckily, I only had to put up with it for a short while but can you imagine trying to do a marathon like that? Sure enough, when I removed my shoes and socks, there was the pool of blood and cut in my toe. Yuck.

The best time to cut your nails is after a hot bath or shower when they are naturally softer. Trim them in a straight line and smooth the edges with an emery board if you need to. Don’t round the edges.

Can you imagine running along with that pinching, stinging feeling? Of your toe screaming out with every step? Knowing that there is blood soaking into your sock? And if you’re really, really unlucky, it can even lead to infection if you don’t keep it clean.

So next time you’ve got a run scheduled, do yourself a favour and cut those toenails!


4 thoughts on “Why runners should cut their toenails

  1. I will often come back and comment that ‘my toenails had a fight’. Unfortunately one of them always wins and then there is blood bleurgh. You would think I would get better at remembering to sort them out….

    1. It sounds like you’re as bad as I am! After limping home, I promise to make it part of my pre-race to-do list. Do I? Do I hell.

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