How To Deal With A Toenail Blister From Running?

Running is quite an intensive sport so it is no surprise that it can result in some injuries.

How To Deal With A Toenail Blister From Running?

Common running injuries include shin splints, sore knees and ankles, muscle sprains, and blisters.

A lot of people will experience blisters on the heels or balls of their feet – but did you know that you can also develop blisters under your toenails? 

This is not only unsightly but it is also very uncomfortable.

If you don’t deal with these blisters properly they could impact your running or get infected.

If you want to know how to deal with these blisters then you have come to the right place.

We have put together this guide to tell you everything you need to know, so keep reading to find out more. 

What Do These Blisters Look Like?

How do you know when you have developed one of these blisters? You will notice fluid underneath your toenail, encased in skin.

It could happen to one toenail, several, or all of your toes at once if you are really unlucky.

They are not nice to look at, so be prepared. It might protrude over the tip of your toe as well. 

What Causes These Blisters?

Blisters underneath the toenail are caused by friction.

If your shoes are too tight this can cause pressure on your toes, causing the shoe to rub against the nail and the nail to rub against the skin.

This can also happen if you have front pronation, which means when you run you land on the front part of your foot.

Your foot is pushed into the toe of the shoe, putting pressure on your toenails,  

When there is a lot of friction on the toe, it causes the layers of skin to separate.

As the layers separate, they fill with liquid and a blister is formed.

Your body does this to try and protect your skin from further damage, limiting the number of layers that are affected.

This prevents damage to the tissue underneath. 

Whilst your body has the best intentions, blisters can still be very painful.

The fluid pushes up against your nail and against the skin underneath.

This pain can make it difficult for you to continue running until the blister has healed. 

How Can You Relieve The Pain? 

How To Deal With A Toenail Blister From Running?

There are two options when you have a blister under your toenail.

You can leave it alone and wait for it to go away, which means that you will have to endure some pain.

You will also need to stop running until the blister has healed, otherwise it could get worse. 

The other option is to drain the blister to bring the swelling down, but you need to be very careful.

There is a possibility that the blister could become infected after it has been drained.

An infection could end up being worse than the blister itself.

Blisters underneath toenails are more likely to become infected than other blisters, as that area is very moist which helps the bacteria to breed. 

If you want to drain your blister, you will need to break the skin with a clean, sterilized needle.

Try to keep the hole as small as possible so it takes less time to heal. Gently drain the liquid and absorb it with a piece of kitchen paper.

Once the blister has been drained you should clean the area and make sure that the open wound is sanitized. 

What Can You Do To Prevent Blisters?

There are several ways that you can prevent blisters from forming under your toenails when you run.

The most important thing is to make sure that your shoes fit properly.

They shouldn’t be too loose or they will rub, and they shouldn’t be too tight or there will be too much friction. They need to be just right. 

You can get blister resistant socks which can help to prevent the formation of blisters by providing extra padding to the areas where the shoes put the most pressure on your feet. 

You could also try using toe spacers when you run to prevent the pressure. 

 Make sure that your toenails aren’t too long. This will help to reduce the pressure on your toenails from your trainers. 

If you keep getting recurring blisters even after trying these prevention methods then you might have a structural abnormality in your feet.

This means that you should see a podiatrist to see if it can be corrected.


Blisters under your toenails can be very painful and they can hinder your running.

The best cure is prevention – you should try to take the necessary steps to stop the blisters from forming.

If you do get a blister, you can wait for it to go away or you can drain it. If you drain it, you need to be careful not to let it get infected.

Richard Harris