Thursday, June 12, 2014

Runners and pedicures

Well, I am not exactly the target audience for this column about runners and pedicures, but I found the exposition about how running can injure nail beds and nail matrices pretty interesting:
It’s not the actual nail that is damaged, but the nail bed, the tissue under the nail that is rich in blood vessels, Dr. Jung says. Running, particularly running downhill or while wearing shoes that are too small, puts pressure on the front of the foot and can traumatize the nail that protects that bed. As a result, the nail bed bleeds, making the toenail appear black.

The buildup of blood also creates pressure that can push up the nail. The nail can then detach from the nail matrix, the area at the base of the nail from which new nails grow. For the majority of runners, Dr. Jung says, that matrix remains unharmed. That’s why often when a dead nail pops off, a new one is already growing underneath.
Over three and a half years of running, I've been lucky enough not to have lost any nails, and to have suffered only one purple toe, following a half marathon where the first 7 miles were downhill.

Unfortunately, of the two suggestions for avoiding purple toes, avoiding downhill running where I live would confine me entirely to the treadmill, so that's not really so feasible (although I guess I'd have even more TV to blog about).

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