Chronic idiopathic urticaria

Toenail injury: Can walking cause the injury?

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A toenail injury can occur walking. It is important to note that walking is a simple aerobic activity that can burn calories and keeps the heart in a healthy state. Individuals who regularly walk often end up with a toenail injury.

In case the shoes do not properly fit, the toes tend to bang around. The friction produced by wearing overly tight shoes is another cause of toenail injury. Medical care is not always necessary but serious cases require further assessment by a doctor.

What are the usual causes?

A toenail injury occurs if there is trauma to the tissues beneath the nail.

A toenail injury occurs if there is trauma to the tissues beneath the nail. Wearing shoes that are too small or constricted causes friction and pressure that can damage the toenail.

If there is lack of space in the top part of the shoe, the toes might rub against the interior and place stress on the nails. Continuous starting and stopping as well as walking downhill drives the foot to the front part of the shoe and result to an injury. In addition, walking with tight socks also increases the pressure and result to a toenail injury.


The constant friction or bashing of the toes when walking impairs the tissues beneath the nail and result to the buildup of fluid. The fluid originates from the broken blood vessels and appears dark in appearance.

Once the fluid accumulates and the pressure becomes elevated, a blood blister often develops and causes the toenail to turn black and become sore. Over time, the toenail gradually starts to fall off. In addition, foul odor is another indication of a toenail injury.

Management of a toenail injury

In a severe case of a toenail injury, the doctor will remove the nail if there is a serious laceration, infection or bone damage. It might take a few months for the discomfort to settle and the nail fully grows back.

For minor injuries, a sterile needle is driven through the nail to promote the drainage of fluid and lessen the pressure. A cautery can also be utilized to burn a hole via the black toenail and get rid of the fluid. For minor trauma, the treatment for a toenail injury is not required.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on toenail injury is for learning purposes only. Learn to properly manage the injury by taking a standard first aid course with Red Deer First Aid.

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