My big left toe has what looks like a blister on the right side of the nail. It is a little puffy and much whiter than the rest of the skin. Noteworthy because in over 10 years of marathon joggling and training, I’ve experienced a total of one blister. This would be number two.
According to this article about endurance athletes and their skin conditions from the American Academy of Dermatology, anywhere from 20 to 44 percent of marathon runners report blisters as their most common complaint. But there are other skin conditions that runners deal with. Here’s a list of things you might experience and how you might handle them. Note: While I am a longtime endurance joggler and scietist, I am not a medical doctor so for really persistant conditions go see a dermatologist.
Blisters. These bubbly babies are caused by friction & moisture. Anything that increases rubbing like tight fitting shoes, running fast, or wet socks can lead to a blister.
- Prevention: Wear moisture wicking socks made of synthetic materials. These should be thicker at the toe and heel. Also, use Drying powders, petroleum jelly or adhesive pads to reduce blisters. I personally like to use Body Glide but other things work. After a run, soak your feet in a water solution of epsom salts. This is supposed to prevent blisters but even if it doesn’t, it does feel good. For more info check out what Runner’s World has to say about blisters.
Jogger’s Nails. Do your feet ever look like this picture? If so, then you know about Jogger’s nails. This is a condition where the nails have small, semi-circular white spots on them. It’s the result of an injury at the base of the nail usually caused by ill-fitting shoes. While they are unpleasant to look at, they eventually grow out and should not be a source of concern.
- Prevention. Make sure your shoes fit and your socks are not too tight. These injuries are typically the result of your toes pressing against the front or top of your shoes.
Chafing. We covered this one before. It’s also caused by friction. It’s particularly tough on more sensitive parts of your skin like beauty marks, moles, and nipples. Yes, chafed nipples are called jogger’s nipples. You don’t even want to know what juggler’s nipples are!
- Prevention. Check out these 4 tips to stop chafing.
Black toe nails. It seems my little brother gets these often. Here’s a picture if you just must see one. This is caused by your toes hitting the top or front of your shoes. It could also be caused by a rugrat who thinks it’s cute to step on their uncle’s toes as hard as they can!
- Prevention. Wear good fitting shoes and don’t let people forcefully step on your feet. Runner’s World published a way to treat them but I can’t in good concious tell people to drill a hole in their toe-nail. Leave them alone and they’ll eventually go away.
I’ll leave you with this quote from a real dermatologist, Dr. Scott B. Phillips
â€œAlthough the benefits of exercise far outweigh any temporary dermatologic conditions that may result, it is important for athletes and their doctors to recognize these potential problems and take the necessary steps to prevent them in the first place…â€