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exercise 2Marathon runners often suffer from calluses and missing toe nails.  Some say a manicure can help by strengthening the nail.  It isn’t good to remove the calluses completely though, as they are needed for running.

Runners may stay away from pedicures for a lot of reasons. Not only may they want to preserve protective calluses, they may also think having pretty toenails doesn’t really matters when you’re losing them so often. Others are embarrassed to sit in a chair and have a stranger evaluate their battered feet.

Lost or discolored toenails are a perpetual problem for runners because running is blunt trauma on the feet.  The toes are constantly butting up against the sneaker and they become bruised.  It’s not the actual nail that is damaged, but the nail bed, the tissue under the nail that is rich in blood vessels.  Wearing shoes that are too small or doing a lot of downhill running, 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 the area remains unharmed. That’s why often when a dead nail pops off, a new one is already growing underneath.

Keeps nails trimmed and moisture feet often.  Cut the nails to a medium length, too short, you risk ingrown toenails; too long, and you’re more likely to bang the nail against the front of your shoe.  The nails should be cut straight across instead of rounded, to prevent ingrown toenails.

When going to a nail salon, to ensure recommends bringing your own nail instruments, and also go to a salon that uses a plastic inlay inside of the soaking tub that the technician can replace after each customer to assure you’re putting your feet in a sterile solution.  If you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes, which can increase the risk of infection, check with your doctor before getting a pedicure.

Ultimately, there’s not much people who run a lot can do to prevent lost or discolored toenails entirely. Making sure your running shoes fit properly may help. So can avoiding downhill running, which jams your toes against the front of your footwear, though that’s not really practical.

Manhattan Wellness Group promotes health and well being through exercise, healthy diet, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage and physical therapy.

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