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Downhill Toenail Pain

When you skate or hike downhill for an extended period of time, the pressure of your toenails pushing against your boots can be painful, and your toenails can even turn black and fall off. Here is how to avoid the problem.

Prevention Tips

  • Keep your toenails cut very short, but always cut them straight across, to discourage ingrown toenails.

  • After each nail clipping session, file and buff the edges of your toenails until they are very smooth, and there are no sharp edges.

  • Wear socks thick enough to prevent your foot from sliding forward inside your boot.

  • Wear socks that will keep your feet as dry as possible (wet feet WILL slide around inside your boots).

  • If you have room inside your boots, you can wear two pairs of socks, and cut the toes out of one pair.

  • Another idea, if you have room inside your boots, is to wrap lamb's wool around the ends of your toes to pad them.

  • To stop your foot from sliding forward, you can put a layer of self-adhesive Mole Foam on the inside-top of your boot, against the tongue. You can also stick the Mole Foam to your sock, over the arch of your foot.

  • Unlace your boots halfway, tighten the laces as much as you can, and tie a knot, Then lace the boot upthe rest o the way, and tie it again. This helps keep the bottom half of your laces from loosening up.

  • On a long downhill stretch, you may need to retighten your boot laces frequently. If your boots are tightly laced, your feet will be less likely to slide forward.

  • If you reach the point where the two sides of your boots come together, and they cannot be tightened any more (but they still need tightening), you might need to add some kind of a pad or "spacer" over the arch.

  • Arch supports or orthotics will sometimes help to prevent your foot from sliding forward inside your boot.

  • Some people tape their toes with duct tape or first aid tape, to prevent boot pressure from damaging their toes.

    Treatment Tips

  • If, in spite of all these measures, a toenail does turn black, it might be necessary to have the toenail bed pierced and drained by a doctor, to save the nail.

  • Some runners have their toenails PERMANENTLY REMOVED to prevent "downhill black toenail", but we do not recommend this.



    Black Toenails
    Articles and information about what causes black toenails plus how to treat and prevent the problem.




  • Related Links
    Toenail Disorders - Main Menu
    Foot Health Issues for Athletes
    Other Health Issues for Athletes
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