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Runner's Nail | How do I treat it?

What's the best way to treat runner's nail? Black toe nail, called runner's nail (also walker's nail) is best treated when the bruise under the nail is drained promptly following injury. That's why the Naileezer Nail Drill is to tool of choice.

I bruised my toe nail - how do I treat it?Runner's nail

How to treat runner's nail.

Runner's nail is a common diagnosis that occurs following an injury to the toe nail.  Runner's nail is often the result of running downhill in a loose shoe.  I also see runner's nail occur when a runner is focused on completing an activity, such as the end of a race.  As the foot pistons forward in a loose shoe, the nail repetitively hits against the toe box causing a bruise beneath the nail.  This bruise is called a subungual hematoma, or what we commonly call runner's nail.

Do you need to be a runner to have runner's nail?  Absolutely not.  I see runner's nail in walkers and hikers, and in active sports like soccer and football.

Naileezer Nail DrillThe black discoloration of runner's nail is no more than a localized bruise.  But that bruise can do some serious damage to the nail.  The bruise tends to float the nail off of the underlying nail bed.  This separation of the nail leads to eventual loss of the nail.

Draining the bruise under the nail is really quite easy with the Naileezer Nail Drill.  The Naileezer drill is a very sharp tool that easily cuts a small hole in the nail, allowing for drainage of the bruise.  But what's so special about the Naileezer Drill is the adjustable stop that is on the drill.  With the adjustable stop, you have complete control over the depth of the drill (and that's important).

To use the Naileezer Nail Drill simply set the adjustable depth guide and slowly drill in a clockwise direction.

Once the bruise has been drained, try to keep the nail in place as long as possible.  The potential loss of the nail is dependent upon the size of the bruise beneath the nail and the duration of the bruise.  The earlier you drain the bruise, the better your chances of keeping the nail.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM

Medical Advisor

Updated 4/15/2021

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