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Why Do My Toenails Hurt After Running?

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Updated August 11, 2013

Question: Why Do My Toenails Hurt After Running?
"After a long run, a couple of my toenails were throbbing, like they were bruised. Is it normal for my toenails to hurt like that?"
Answer: It sounds like your running shoes are too small. Your running shoes should be 1/2 to a full size bigger than your regular shoe size because your feet will swell when you run and you need plenty of room in the toebox. If your toes are crammed in the front of the shoe, you could experience foot problems such as black toenails (which usually start as that throbbing pain in your toenails), blisters, or foot numbness.

When shopping for running shoes, make sure you go to a specialty running store and have the salesperson measure your feet. Even if you think you know your shoe size, your feet can get wider and longer (due to falling arches), even as an adult. Also, it's best to try on new running shoes after a long run or at the end of the day, when your feet are already swollen.

If you're wondering if your current running shoes are the correct size, check the location of your big toe. If it's pushed right up against the front of the shoe, they're too small. Another easy way to check the fit is to remove the shoe's insert and stand on it. If any part of your toes are hanging over the end of the insert, your running shoes are too small.

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