Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blisters Under Toenails

I've tried to stay away from blogging about the more gruesome aspects of running.

GI issues. Chafing. Blistering.

But truthfully, they're very much part of training. If the car ride up to Great Lakes this past weekend was void of bathroom stories, well, we would have talked a lot less.

One topic of discussion was my toenails. Yum.

I will advise that you not read on if any discussion of feet or toenails grosses you out. 

If it doesn't, and you decide to read on, I would advise to not google 'blisters under toenails' and then click over to images. 

During the marathon last year, I had some foot pain. I think that's relatively normal as your feet swell after hours of continuous activity. What I realized toward the end of the marathon is my big toes hurt the worst. Immediately after the race, I changed into flip flops and headed to the post race party. So much of my body hurt by that point that I was willing to overlook some silly toe pain.

The following day, I got a massage. My toes were still sensitive, but I was willing to chalk it up to inflammation.

By Monday night, I couldn't take it anymore. It hurt to put a sheet over my feet. Socks were out of the question. What was going on? Well, it felt like a blister.

So I googled blisters under your toenails. Do you have any idea what is recommended? Drilling a hole through your toenail to release the pressure. Yeah... there was no way I was doing that.

I examined my toes. I could see the nail was raising off the nail bed a bit. As I pushed down on the nail, I felt pain. At the same time, I saw a sack much like a blister, appear between the nail and the end of the toe. Ah ha. Now I had a strategy. I sterilized a needle and went to the problem area.

On contact, I achieved the desired effect. Pressure was relieved.

I repeated the process a few times over the next two days until all pressure was gone.

Many months later, one of my toenails fell off. No big deal. It had happened before. It's likely to happen again.

I continued to train through the winter, spring and summer with no issues.

That is, until the 20 miler.

I seem to be back at the beginning.

Oh well, at least I know what to do.


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DrTomWay said...
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DrTomWay said...
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DrTomWay said...

This is terrific and useful information. I've dealt with the blister-under-the-toenail problem every so often. Here's my procedure:

1. Clean a needle with alcohol, or at least soap and water.
2. Slide the needle under the toenail from the front until you prick into the blister.
3. Press down on the nail to drain the blister, soaking up blister fluid with some TP or tissue.
4. Poke the needle in again in other spots if needed, and repeat the draining.
5. When satisfied you've done enough damage, put a bead of antibiotic cream across the end of the toenail, put one flexible bandaid across the end of the nail from top to bottom of the toe, and then wrap another flexible bandaid crossways all the way around to hold the other in place.
6. Leave this in place, including while running, until it falls off. Having the wrapping over the toe seems to help it from being further traumatized by whatever action caused the blister in the first place.
7. Repeat if needed.

john said...

Don't wait until it gets too bad to get in. On the right you can see we only take a small portion of the nail.KeriDerm Rx Toenail Fungus Cream Review

Dolores Neilson said...

OMG…I just had this happen after running 8 miles a few days ago and the sensitivity of a sock or sheet was agonizing. I could not understand what was attributing to this pain but I recall wearing a much tighter sneaker and the last mile was agonizing. From this day foreword, I will clip my toenails SHORT so it doesn't keep impacting against the sneaker at the toes.

Last night in desperation, thinking I had a bruise under the toenail (my toenail is covered with nail polish), I made a hole in the nail of my large toe. I could not believe the liquid that was being released! I kept applying alcohol. Thinking that today that hole would be "plugged"… has been draining every since….SWEET RELIEF.

How coincidental I find your post today! Makes me feel much better. I've had to drain blood for having my finger smashed in a door….but never occurred to me that blisters under toe nails was possible.

Thanks for your post.