Do Your Feet Hurt After You Run? Here’s What To Do

Illustrated By Zhang Qingyun.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running one or 26.2 — your feet take a beating with each mile. We’re talking about blisters, swelling, and black toenails.
One common and sometimes painful injury is the “runner’s toe” that occurs when your toes repeatedly bang against the front of your sneakers. This trauma can cause bleeding that collects under your nail, causing a blackish appearance. In more extreme cases, the toenail will actually start to lift or detach.
If you’re dealing with post-race feet, Daniel Drapacz, DPM, clinical director for New York Foot Experts, recommends treatment based on the severity:

1. If the nail is extremely loose but still attached, it is best to cover with a Band-Aid until you can get to a podiatrist.
2. If a nail is just a little loose, you can try trimming it yourself.
3. If your toe or foot is in pain, get to a podiatrist as soon as possible.
4. For a black or purple nail, a visit to a podiatrist is recommended, so that it can be drained via a pin hold or removed safely.

Toenail issues aside, the foot-recovery tips that every athlete benefits from include gentle stretching, elevation, wearing comfy shoes for a few days post-race, and incorporating more range of motion exercises (like this one) into your day. Happy feet, happy run.

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