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How to Avoid a Bruised Toe[nail]

Posted Jan 31 2013 9:14am

Right after I got back from the Goofy Challenge, I was talking to a friend about my toe and she asked me why I thought the injury had happened. After explaining to her what I assume to be the perfect storm of causes she told me that I should write a blog post about it. To be honest, my first thought was “no one is going to want to read about my disgusting toe situation” but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that you all might want to read this post so you can avoid having to deal with the gross toe situation that I did. So here goes the toe injury causes post (with ways to prevent this of course)… sorry for the toe talk and I promise no gory pictures!



1. Inserts- After my heel started to bother me in December, I picked up a pair of inserts and put them in my running shoes. I didn’t pay any attention to how thick they were and they didn’t seem to bother me running in the colder weather. However, when I got to Florida and it was hot and humid, the inserts (which are thicker than normal inserts) did not leave enough room in the toe box for my swollen feet causing my toe to bang around (and hit the top of my shoe) in the toe box more than normal. To avoid this, be aware of how thick your inserts and insoles in before purchasing them and placing them in your shoe. If you think there might be an issue, consider finding a thinner insert, thinner socks, and going up half a shoe size.

2. Swollen feet- Speaking of swollen feet, the humidity and heat along with being on my feet all day Friday and running the half on Saturday definitely caused my feet to swell up more than usual. Again, this caused my toes to hit the sides and top of my shoe more frequently than usual. To avoid this, buy your shoes half a size too big to allow for swelling. I’m kicking myself for not doing this since I usually buy half a size too big in the summer and true to size in the winter and I totally forgot for Goofy.

3. Long toenails- You want to keep your toenails clean and short so they can’t catch on anything like your sock or the next toe over. Let’s just say, my big toenails were not even close to being as short as they are supposed to be and that I had kind of forgotten about them in all of my sock and boot wearing in Chicago. Yikes. To avoid this, keep your toenails short!

4. Wet feet- Wet feet can be caused by a few things like sweating, rain, pouring water down yourself, etc. Having wet feet increases the friction between your toes and makes you more prone to blisters. If you start to feel blisters, you might change your gait or the way your foot hits the ground in order to alleviate some pain which makes you more prone to smacking the top of your foot on the top of your shoe. To avoid this, wear sweat wicking socks or brands like injinji that aim to prevent blisters and when pouring water over your head, try to avoid getting it in your shoes.

5. Compression gear- Compression gear is important, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re running two back to back races, be careful which compression gear you wear. After the half on Saturday, I made recovery my priority. Within 10 minutes of finishing the race, I changed out of the socks I ran in and into my compression socks. When we got back to the hotel, I showered, put my compression socks back on, and wore them all day. My calves felt great the next day, but my feet didn’t have the time to really dry out, leaving the skin tender and ready to blister on Sunday. I never would have thought it would be an issue but after searching for Goofy related injuries, the high rate of blisters came up and many people pointed to this sock issue as a contributing factor. To avoid this, wear compression gear but make sure to take your socks off and let your feet “dry out” for a bit.


So yeah, while my bruised toe and toenail was quite the traumatic injury (I really don’t like toes) it healed pretty quickly (approximately 9 days) and could have been completely avoided had I known and paid attention to the five things above. Live and learn I guess!

Have you ever had an injury that could have been avoided (not overuse)? Do you buy running shoes true to size or do you obey the 1/2 size rule?

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