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By Margot Manning – intraining Running Injury Clinic podiatrist, coach and runner

Black toenails, blisters and calluses are a common hazard of running, but with a few simple changes, you can usually prevent them from occurring. The main reason that they occur is from the pressure of the shoe in different ways onto your feet and toes as they move across the ground.

BLACK TOENAILSblack toenail edit squareszie

The dreaded black toenail is nearly always caused by shoes that are too small or the fabric upper too shallow where your toes are located. This lack of depth in the shoe puts a lot of pressure on the tips of the toes, particularly when running longer distances. The repetitive movement of running can make the toes move like mini hammers – for a very long time.

TIP: Buy a larger shoe, wider shoe  or one with a deeper toe box 


Blistering usually occurs when the foot is moving against the shoe rather than with the shoe. This creates a rubbing of the skin against the material creating friction and blistering. There are three typical places for blistering.blisters on feet edit squaresize

1. Tips of your toes: Toe blisters occur when the shoe is too small or too tight and the freely moving toes continuously rub.

TIP: Longer and squarer shoes can help (Look for D width for women or 2E / 4E in mens)

2. Arch of foot: Arch blisters occur when the arch flattens at an angle or with more pressure on the arch of the shoe. Flat feet and flexible feet are more prone to arch blisters.

TIP: It may be as easy a minor modification to your shoe insole to take the pressure off the arch. Visit one of the intraining Running Injury Clinic podiatrists who can help.

3. Back of heel: Heel blisters occur if your foot is mismatched to the stability type of the shoe. Usually, the shoe is too stable and your foot fights this structure. Sometimes it can be a mismatch between your heel and the heel counter.  The newer designs in shoes have worked to improve this.  

TIP: Check your shoe is the right type for you. Ask one of our running footwear specialists at intraining Running Centre to watch you run on our in-store track.  


Calluses usually occur from the thickening of the skin at a place where there is excessive rubbing. These are usuallycalluses editsquaresize related to the way you run.

Top four common locations of calluses on runners

  1. Along the edge of the big toe
  2. Under the fifth toe joint (little toe)
  3. The tips of the toes
  4. On the inside of the heel

TIP: Calluses can often be easily remedied, either through minor modification to existing insoles or alternatively a more comprehensive orthotic may be required.

If you are having any troubles with blisters, black toenails or calluses, Book an appointment with our podiatry and physiotherapy team at intraining.  A simple footwear modification can make a pain free run.

Book an appointment

Get the most extensive range of choice and expert advice on your next pair of running shoes. Visit us at intraining Running Centre and chat with our footwear specialists.

We’re located at 535 Milton Road Toowong

CALL  (07) 3367 3088 | EMAIL [email protected]