Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Black Toe Blues

I don't know what it is about my feet, but I am certainly susceptible to black toe, those nasty hematomas underneath the toenail that eventually cause the nail to fall off. The process can be annoying and a bit painful. I've always suffered from them, and now I have tied my record by having two at the same time, one on the big toe and, on the other foot, on the adjacent toe.

These haven't reached the painful stage, but they will, that's coming. 

For years I've asked people how I can avoid getting them, and I've heard it all:
  1. In order to not let your toe move around much, buy tight-fitting shoes.
  2. Get shoes that are as much as one full size too big so your toes can't jam into the toebox.
  3. Don't get shoes that are too tight or too big, just get them very accurately sized down to the mm and get the right shoe for that size.
  4. Wear thick socks that will provide extra cushion and will limit movement within the shoe.
  5. Buy new shoes frequently, like every 6 weeks.
  6. Wear two pairs of thin socks. This allows the foot to smoothly glide on the inside of the shoe and reduce friction, hence reducing the possibility of black toe.
  7. Go pray to the God of All Things Black Toe, and ask for forgiveness.
I've developed black toe at about the same rate following all of these bits of advice, and so admit to being flummoxed. When I heard the rationale for #6, I thought that was probably a great idea and so enthusiastically adopted it. I think I developed black toe faster with that method than any other! Podiatrists are likewise stumped, but will happily drain the hematoma or remove the nail, for a fee of course.

If anyone has any better ideas, let me know. In the meantime, I will have to endure the 1-2 months of pain as I wait for these damn toenails of mine to fall off....