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Pedicures and runners don’t mix, right? Wrong. Unkempt feet experience a variety of ailments, whether it’s cracking, infections or blackened and lost toenails (yum!), says Kennise Miller, nail department manager at Chicago-based Spa Space. Always tell your nail tech that you’re a runner, because our feet have special needs.
Here are Miller’s best practices for race-ready trotters.
Keep calluses in check. “It is important not to build heavy calluses as a runner. Letting them build too much will lead to cracks; this can cause infection and pain,” says Miller. File calluses down until they are just above skin level, and moisturize at night to prevent dry, cracking skin.
Trim your nails between pedis. Long nails can hit against the edge of your shoe, especially on downhills, leading to bruising or losing the nail. “Nails should be clipped just shy of the toe edge and filed straight across, avoiding cut corners and round shapes, which lead to ingrown nails,” especially on the big toe, says Miller.
Don’t fear the black toe. You might lose it but it’s not a big deal. “It can be unsightly, but it’s a regular occurrence, especially for those training for a long-distance event. A licensed and skilled nail technician will work on removing any dead cuticle that is growing with the nail as it comes back. This will allow the surface to return evenly and without the chance of becoming ingrown,” says Miller. Dark nail polish can camouflage the damage. Artificial nails are unnecessary and can interfere with healthy regrowth.
If you find it hard to file straight, do it on a bended knee. “This gives you a view from the top, making the correct angle easier to achieve,” Miller says.