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I started running last April. I've completed a couple of 5 Ks , an 8 K , 10 K and my first 1/2 marathon on Feb 14th, 2010. My toes have paid the price. I have gone up 1/2 size in shoes for running shoes. Everything seemed fine until I started adding more miles. My second toes are longer then my big toes. Apparently that matters???? anyway, I've read on line that some people tape their toes. That sounds like it would crowd things. Others lube them up with cream - why?? sounds wet. Others use gel tips. Don't know how they stay in place. Any ideas? What works the best???? Any ideas???
First, for the toe thing try to run in another 1/2 size up if your run shop will let you return after you try this is a good idea, otherwise in store options are good. If if feels "slosshy" to your foot, it may be too much for you in terms of size and the taping idea may help with the black or bloodied toe thing. Otherwise, it is a common risk of doing distance and for many of us is a badge of honor.... ummm... while this is gross I am sure to some, my point is above.
As to blisters here is what works with me:
Dri fit socks- can't emphasize that enough- I swear by my Wigwam Triathlon's (Ironman), they have never failed me once and have never caused me blisters and for winter running Mizuno Breath Thermo or my Smart Wool-Wool socks-made for runners, both options for winter or otherwise are ones that I swear by, I wear either option even without the next thought has never caused me a blister
For whatever ails me, including clothes that rub the wrong way on my body and cause chafing I swear by Body Glide- and it isn't wet, just causes a little extra cushion against things rubbing against your skin, if that doesn't work for your thighs I have another option of some compression shorts I wear under my shorts in summer time... is about the only thing that works for my muscle bound legs....
For the here and now= Band Aid Ampules are a wonderful cure for blisters, if too big for the ampule Walgreens has a bigger and cheaper size, and/or I have found a lot of luck in just popping the thing with a sterile needle and a little pressure applied by my own two fingers. Beware, this last one is a bit gross, but does the trick in terms of pain relief within days. You can cover up the spot with a band aid...
Black nails and blisters are often signs of improperly fitted (too small) running shoes. Find a specialty shop, tell them about your problems, and have them fit you for a good pair of running shoes. Additionally, run in good socks. Socks that are made for running with advanced synthetic fabrics or wool are a must. Some elites put vaseline on their toes to minimize friction.
I've found that when I run long my feet swell. I buy one pair of shoes a half size larger than the others for my long runs and runs on really hot days where your feet can swell. Since I don't wear them as often, they last longer than my every day running shoes. As for the blisters, I agree with everyone else, invest in some good socks that are made of wicking material. NO COTTON! You can also use Body Glide. It is not wet. It is like a deoderant stick. Good luck!
Plan your run and then run your plan.
I also have longer second toes and when I start upping my mileage those toenails are the first to go. I'm not convinced that larger shoes in and of themselves would do any good. It seems to me that because that second toe is weaker than the big toe, it would normally depend on the big toe to "run interference" and blunt the forces of running. But with our second toes being longer, there is no protection and they get beat up. Getting shoes too large to try and compensate can actually lead to other problems like BLISTERS! (A shoe that is too loose will slide and rub, causing the blisters.)
I am extremely lucky that I have never, ever once had a blister on my feet in years of running. I wish I could give you a tip for that, but I haven't done anything special to prevent them. I do wear wicking socks, never cotton, and I have well fitting shoes and I'm sure that helps. Then again, maybe I just have tough skin!
I have the same toe issue and have also gone up a half a shoe size. With that said, I am generally about 1/2 loaded with toenails since the 5 that I've lost are in various stages of regrowth. I think it just somewhat comes with the territory. I do wear Asics socks (not sure of the model) and have never suffered from blisters fortunately. Other than freaking out a few manicurists, my missing toenails have caused me no problems.
TRUST THE TRAINING!
Vaseline. I have had one casualty and since then I have been using the stuff. No casualties since. I don't think bigger shoe sizes is a good idea, losing toes nails is part of the deal when long distance running.
"You don't stop running because you get old, you get old becasue you stop running"
Take care, Train hard and Train smart. Sincerely, Vincent