Painful Toes or Black Toenails While Running?

  • By Judith Sullivan
  • 29 Mar, 2017
04 Dec, 2015

Your Shoe Laces May Be the Culprit

You may not realise it, but the way you tie up your running shoes can have a significant effect on the overall health and comfort of your feet. Whether it’s due to the way the shoe is coming into contact with your foot or the relative tightness of the laces, your chosen method could be a contributing factor to any issues you’re experiencing.

Here are some of the most common conditions that can be improved by simply switching up the way you tie your laces:

Black or Painful Toenails

Black or sore toenails often occur when the front of your toes rub against your shoe or sock. The most likely scenarios that lead to rubbing are laces that are too tight or ill-fitting shoes.

These can both lead to fluid build-up as a result of damage to the nail tissue, causing pressure below the nail. This then causes blackening and pain.

To avoid this condition, try to ensure your running shoes are properly fitted or avoid lacing them too tightly.

Pain on your Upper Foot

Pain on the top of your feet is usually caused by the tendons that run along the upper foot becoming inflamed. These are extensor tendons and when inflamed, the condition is known as extensor tendonitis.

It is often caused by running shoes that have been laced too tightly, or poorly fitting shoes that create a pressure point on the upper foot, leading to swelling. The condition can result in a very painful experience for runners, due to the way the upper foot will likely rub against the shoe.

Applying ice to the area may reduce the pain temporarily, but it’s important to try new lacing techniques or better fitting running shoes to avoid it in the future.

Irritation and Blisters

Whether your shoes are too tight or too loose, if they’re just not right there’s a chance your feet will be slipping to areas of the shoe that don’t quite match up to your foot’s natural shape. This will cause various parts of the shoe to rub on and irritate the skin, leading to irritation and blisters.

If you’re experiencing any of the above, try altering your laces to find a method that works for you. If you’re stuck on ideas, a simple search for ‘ways to tie running shoes’ or similar will show you a number of diagrams that may be helpful.

Alternatively, a visit to your podiatrist could be the best option. A trained podiatrist will be able to show you the best way to fit your shoes and laces to your foot, as well as recommending the best running shoes and techniques to avoid injuries.

By Judith Sullivan 09 Dec, 2017
By Reggie Simpson
By Judith Sullivan 28 Sep, 2017

We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.

Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( ).

Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.

The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: .

Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018): 

‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’

Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer.  Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.

But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.

Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow.   He died in June 2016, aged 74.

Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.

So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.

We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.

The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members. 

I quote the following:

‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.

Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher

September is World Alzheimer’s Month.




More Posts
Share by: