It seems simple enough, but sometimes you just forget, or put it off, or just don't pay attention to your toenails entirely. Problem is, too-long toenails can wreak havoc on a runner's feet, whether you're heading out on a three-mile jog or running a marathon. I'm not talking full-on pedicure either (though, how wonderfully indulgent are they?) — I'm talking making sure they're short enough to not rub against your shoes or your other toes.
If you're an avid runner, some toenail issues are probably unavoidable. A downhill course or just repeated training can injure your toenails, causing subungual hematomas — a fancy way to say black toenails caused by blood gathering underneath. And, sadly there's no way to make it go away; just chalk your black toenails up to a running badge of honor (and cover them with pretty dark polish!). Eventually, they'll fall off after a healthy nail has grown underneath.
Need more reasons? Check 'em out after the break.
Long toenails can lead to even more painful problems. If they're too long, they can cut into the skin of neighboring toes (ew) and cause bleeding and soreness when running.
Of course, cutting the nails too short can lead to trouble, too. Too-short toenails (or nails cut with rounded edges) can cause an ingrown toenail if the nail grows down into the skin of your toe. This causes redness, a lot of pain, and can lead to a sidelining infection.
More often, though, I'm guilty of waiting too long and experiencing the familiar painful pinching sensation during a run. While it's not often painful enough to draw blood or even make me stop, too much of this kind of negligence always leads to more painful problems. So, just a friendly reminder: cut those toenails!