I could feel it going.
It had turned black a few weeks (or was it months?) ago and I knew it was going to go eventually.
However I’d ignored the situation.
And now, with only four days until I walk down the aisle as my friend’s bridesmaid, I have lost it.
My little toenail is gone.
This kind of occurrence is not uncommon amongst runners, particularly those that have a marathon or two under their belts. This nail is the fourth I’ve lost in the four years since running my first marathon – luckily it’s never been a big one!
So how do we avoid making our already mangled feet that little bit uglier and keep all ten toenails in tact, and what do we if/when we do lose them?
How to avoid losing your toenails
I swear by Gel or Shellac nail varnish to provide an extra layer of protection to my nails. They strengthen and harden them, plus it definitely helps to have a pop of colour to draw the eye away from the callouses and corns.
Make sure to trim your toenails regularly, and if possible, go for pedicures every month of so to really look after your feet.
Moisturise your feet regularly, including your toenails – coconut oil does the trick.
Get shoes that fit, too small and your feet with touch the end, too big and you could slide around hitting the top of the shoe as you run. Ensure the toe box is large enough – the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 have a cushioned, wide toe area that’s perfect for my long runs. It’s not enough just to have the right running shoes, take a closer look at the pair you stuff your feet in to everyday for work – are they really doing your feet any favours
Wear proper cushioned running socks, adding an extra layer of protection between your feet and your shoes/the pavement.
What to do if/when you do lose a toe nail
If you feel a toenail start to loosen – do not pull it off. Infact I stick my toenails down with plasters for as long as I can to encourage something to grow beneath the flappy bit of nail. This worked a treat with my first two nails, by the time they fell of there were baby nails forming and I didn’t look like an extra from Game of Thrones.
Alternatively, you could just wear a plaster over the toe until a new one grows in – the funkier the plaster, the better!
Don’t pull off the nail until it is ready – you could end up pulling it prematurely out of the nail bed which is excruciating. Wait until it literally falls off, or trim it back with nail clippers.
Paint your foot where the toe would be. (Considering this for Saturday’s wedding)
Cover your feet… let’s face it, Summer won’t be around for long in the UK anyway.
Runners out there – have you ever lost a toenail from training/racing? What did you do?