Big shoes to fill


So, I happen to live in an area full of seriously hectic runners. While I stretched myself to run the odd 15K in the build up to my half marathon, my neighbours and friends trained for mutters, comrades, sky runs and 100 milers.

When choosing a running buddy you have one of two options: someone who will challenge you, or someone who will make you look good. Lets just say I wish I could find more of the latter!

One of the cons of being surrounded by these mountain goats is that when I want to run in a group I need to prepare myself for a 15 to 30 km trot, minimum. One of the pros is that when I need some advise from more experienced running legs, there is plenty of that to go around.

I tapped into this brain trust after my recent half marathon. My knees, after icing, felt much better and I was left with normal post exercise stiffness. Rather unexpectedly the part that took the biggest hammering was; my toenails!

Almost immediately after the run my toes started aching. (It didn’t help that every few minutes I had a small human standing or falling onto them.) By the next day there was immense pressure under the toenails on my big toes. I had to walk trying to lift them off the ground and went through the roof anytime I bumped them. I realised I could actually see a fluid bubble under the toenail so I sterilized a needle and lanced it. It drained a lot of fluid immediately and continued to drain as I walked around on it. I applied an antibacterial ointment and bandaged them up. I later made a small hole in the top of each nail with a needle which released further pressure. They definitely feel better and the reduced pressure under the nail should mean that blood flow can now move through the area to heal them. It could be a case of too little; too late- I guess only time will tell!


After chatting to my running mates, I have assembled Donnybrook’s top 5 tips for toenails:

5. Keep them short

4. Rub Vasciline or other lube between your toes

3. File them down from above

2. Experiment with different socks

And the number one tip seemed to be…

  1. Go up a shoe size!

Some shoes seem to have wider toe boxes (Altra was a brand mentioned). Some people recommended going up half a shoe size; which means a wider shoe but not a longer shoe. It seems to be quite standard practice to run in a takkie that’s a size up from your normal shoe size and some people even recommended going up as much as two shoe sizes.

With the half marathon done and looking to increase my mileage, I look forward to doing some shoe shopping armed with these top tips to keep my toes happy!

Mama on the Run