Toenail Removal & Running

Feet care
Toenail removal surgery will help alleviate the pain of an infected toenail. (Image: Ocskaymark/iStock/Getty Images)

If you struggle with ingrown toenails or chronic toenail infections, running can quickly become impossible. Toenail removal surgery will help alleviate the pain of running with an infected toenail, but you might not be able to return to your usual running routine right away. Check with your doctor before you start any post-surgery workout routine.

When Running Is Safe

According to Carolina Foot Specialists, it's usually safe to start running again two to three days after your surgery, unless you've had a permanent removal. It usually takes five to seven days to recover from permanent toenail removal. If redness around the site increases or if the wound smells bad or if pain increases, you could have an infection. Don't run until you talk to your doctor if you experience these symptoms.

Keeping Your Toenail Clean

Keeping your toenail clean can help speed healing and reduce the risk of future problems. Take off your shoes and socks immediately after running, and rinse your feet. Soak your foot in Epsom salt for 10 to 15 minutes every day for about two weeks. Then apply an antibiotic solution provided by your doctor, and cover the toenail with a bandage. Avoid running with a bare toe until the wound is completely healed.

Risks and Complications

Toenail removal surgery is minor surgery that generally doesn't cause significant problems. But if you return to running too early, the stress on the wound could cause an injury to either your toe or the nail bed. Sweat and dirt can seep into the wound, causing a serious infection. If the surgery required stitches, you could accidentally dislodge a stitch while running.

Preventing Future Problems

Running shoes that are too tight or that repeatedly rub your toenails can cause ingrown toenails again, especially if your toenail removal surgery wasn't permanent. Make sure your shoes fit properly, and replace your running shoes every three to six months. Fungi and infections can also cause toenail problems, so never walk barefoot on a floor that may not be clean, such as at the gym or in a community shower. If you receive a wound on or around your toenail, keep the area clean, and call your doctor if it doesn't clear up on its own after a few days.

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