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Blister under toe nail (but not a blood blister/black toenail)

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Post  carleenp Wed May 30, 2012 9:57 pm

After my marathon I have two toenails with blisters under them (the second and third toes on my left foot), one is rather painful and the entire tip of the toe is also swollen.

I have had black toenails before, drained them, and let them fall off (on the same toe too). But these don't seem to be the black toenail blood blister sort. I drained both twice now from the top by sticking a sterilized needle under the toe nail, which I also cut off quite short. The fluid was clear. I think I have them both drained fully, and one is much better, but the other one still feels like there is a lot of pressure and it is very sore. Although the whole tip of the toe is swollen (I think I maybe jammed it a bit), the pain seems to be from the toenail area and not that. I don't see signs of infection or anything like that. Other than swelling it looks pretty normal.

I tried to drain it further with a needle through the nail, but that gave no results. I really do think it all got drained from the top. So what do I do now? Wait a few more days? Ice it? Take anti-inflammatories? See a Dr.? Quit whining and tough it out?

If I tough it out can I just pad it up good and run on it? I'm planning to try my first post-marathon jog Friday. I don't mind putting that off a day or two if I am still sore from the race, but I would hate for a silly swollen toe nail to be the reason I put off starting recover runs!
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Post  ounce Wed May 30, 2012 10:48 pm

Good description. I would allow it to work itself out, since you've ran your marathon. Give it to Saturday, maybe Friday to see how it's doing. Walking could help it out, but blood flow to that area isn't as plentiful as another area closer to the heart.

Any idea why it happened? All that pent up speed you released?
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Post  carleenp Wed May 30, 2012 10:57 pm

ounce wrote:Good description. I would allow it to work itself out, since you've ran your marathon. Give it to Saturday, maybe Friday to see how it's doing. Walking could help it out, but blood flow to that area isn't as plentiful as another area closer to the heart.

Any idea why it happened? All that pent up speed you released?

I think it was that the course had slight rolls so there was more downhill than my toes are used to. Plus I did have a big PR! The last time I had toenail issues was Memphis Marathon and that too had some rolling hills. I train with some hills but not to the extent of the rolls on either of those courses. I think basically my toes pounded the tips of my shoes a bit more than they are used to.
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Post  wrichman Wed May 30, 2012 10:58 pm

ah, this happens to my second toe repeatedly. It does take 2-3 times of draining it until it finally stops filling back up. After my 50 2 weeks ago it was still hurting 5 days after and I just cut the toenail down to the nail bed. Sometimes the blister separates the nail from the skin underneath and it won't attach again, so I just cut the nail off as much as possible so the nail will regrow. That may be the problem with yours. In the future, it's much more likely to happen again, so put lots of vaseline on the toe before any long runs or long races.
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Post  carleenp Thu May 31, 2012 8:53 am

wrichman wrote:ah, this happens to my second toe repeatedly. It does take 2-3 times of draining it until it finally stops filling back up. After my 50 2 weeks ago it was still hurting 5 days after and I just cut the toenail down to the nail bed. Sometimes the blister separates the nail from the skin underneath and it won't attach again, so I just cut the nail off as much as possible so the nail will regrow. That may be the problem with yours. In the future, it's much more likely to happen again, so put lots of vaseline on the toe before any long runs or long races.

Hmmm, perhaps that is the problem. It was full again this morning and I redrained it. Unlike the other toe, where it felt much better right after I drained it, this one still hurts, so perhaps more of the nail does need to come off for the pressure to get completely relieved. I'll try cutting it way down further tonight.
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Post  ounce Thu May 31, 2012 9:24 am

Since I run on mostly flat terrain, I don't have the issue of my foot sliding forward. I do agree with the vaseline use, but maybe try another shoe with a teensy bit more room in the shoe or a different sock?

I have a callous on my right 3rd toe, because it has a tendency to curl under towards the foot.

Keeping it drained is good for it. I rather enjoy messing with the toenails, when something like this happens. I like the experimenting part. Please keep us in the loop.
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Post  carleenp Thu May 31, 2012 9:44 am

ounce wrote: I rather enjoy messing with the toenails, when something like this happens. I like the experimenting part. Please keep us in the loop.

I have to admit that I also have a bit of a fascination with it. My husband, however, is totally freaked out by toe issues. When I told him last night that I was going to stick a hot needle through my toenail to drain it he was pretty flipped out!
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Post  carleenp Thu May 31, 2012 7:21 pm

Well, I cut the nails as short as I could get them without messing with the attachment points. But it was hard to get them cut as low as I would like. Everything is still very sore, but I think it is all drained and staying drained now, so maybe another day or two and they will hurt less. I put on some socks and running shoes out of curiosity and boy is that uncomfortable! However, I took a few jogging steps and those bothered the toes much less than walking steps, so I think I might be able to run tomorrow or Saturday, especially if I pad everything up really good. If I can't, I guess I'll hit the bike or elliptical wearing my flip flops!
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Post  ounce Thu May 31, 2012 10:20 pm

I would imagine your toe will ooze a bit of the remaining fluid, due to the squeezing on the toe.

You might apply an anti-biotic cream, just in case.
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Post  carleenp Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:15 am

ounce wrote:I would imagine your toe will ooze a bit of the remaining fluid, due to the squeezing on the toe.

You might apply an anti-biotic cream, just in case.

Yep, I smothered the two toes in antibiotic ointment last night. They are still too sore today to try running, but they are also noticeably better. I might try cutting a hole out of some old shoes and see if I can at least hit the elliptical today that way. I don't want to wear flip flops to the gym if I can help it.
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Post  ounce Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:49 am

The last time my big toenail cratered, the blister underneath increased the curvature of the toenail to where a gap now exists at the tip of the nail vs the nail bed.

Since I'd never had a blister prior to the death of a nail, I didn't try to bust the blister. So, hopefully your prompt action will keep that from happening. I keep wondering if I file down the top of the nail to decrease it's thickness, if that would teach the nail to flatten out closer to nail bed.
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Post  carleenp Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:17 am

I'm surprised that you didn't lose the nail. I don't normally get toenail issues, but the couple of times that I did before, I lost them. That made the new one grow back just fine. I fully expect to lose the two current nails at some point. Anyway, I would think filing it down would help with the gap.
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Post  ounce Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:44 pm

Eventually, I did lose that nail. But I waited so long to remove it, that it must've changed the curvature of the future nail.
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Post  wrichman Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:51 pm

Carleen - how's the toe now?
I got 8 toe blisters at my 12 hr. race on Sat. One of them was so big that it was under and surrounding the toenail. I removed the toenail and dead skin last night. I almost tossed my cookies and can't even look at it. hopefully it'll heal ok.
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Post  carleenp Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:34 pm

It is fine now, but it took a week and 1/2 to quit hurting! The problem was that the blister was under the nail and cutting the nail back left it raw and sore for that long. But just about when I was going to cut a hole in a shoe in order to run, it quit hurting. I'll lose what is left of the two nails at some point. One toe still looks pretty funky with all the dried skin around there now.

I came across some gel toe caps in the process and ordered some. They are little gel things to slide over the toe to pad and protect it a bit. I didn't end up having to use them though.

I did put lots of antibiotic ointment on mine too just to head off any infections issues. You might want to do that.
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