San Francisco Podiatry Video


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Runner's Pedicure???

Question: "What in the world is a runners pedicure!!! What I am looking for is someone who knows what happens sometimes when you run a half or full marathon. Yes the dreaded black toenail. My toes have mostly recovered but my girlfreind is insisting I get them in shape or keep my shoes on!" - Rick J.

Answer:As a Bay Area podiatrist and active runner (marathons and Ironman) I can tell you that you don't necessarily have a fungal infection just because the toenail is getting thicker and uglier. There is a very common condition among distance runners and triathletes. It is often referred to as "Runners Toenail." Podatriss call it "traumatic onychauxis." If you run a marathon or half marathon and get the black toenail, you have caused enough trauma to the nail bed (under the nail) to bleed. It is basically a bruise or bllod blister under the nail. Repeatedly beating up your toes in this way leads to the root of the nail getting smashed, deformed and becoming missahpen. Then the toenail grows out thicker. It may be greyish, or yellowis in color and often looks like a fungal nail, but it may not have any fungal infection. A pedicure can often thin the nail and return more of a normal appearance to it. Podiatrists can also prescribe topical solutions that decrease the buildup of keratin on the nail that makes it look like a fungal toenial. The bad news is that there is no "cure" for runners toenail. But you can keep your toenail looking presentable with a pedicure. If it gets worse over time (and you haven't had any more episodes of black toneails) it might be a fungal toenail infection. The only way to know for sure is to see a podiatrist. Your foot doctor with then take a sample of the toenail and send it off to a lab for anlaysis. A test called a PAS reaction will determine whether or not there is any fungus living within the nail plate. If there is no fungus, then you have "traumatic onychauxis" (runner's toenail, in plain English. You can also visit http://www.MyRunningDo... for more info. Best of luck! - Dr. Christopher Segler, San Franciso Podiatry House Calls

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