How Sports Can Affect Your Toes

Pretty much everyone is getting active these days. Whether that involves running, playing various sports, dancing, or even if your still hunting Pokémon, we take for granted the beating we put on our feet. Our feet are always there for us, so we take them for granted until something is wrong with them. Our precious little toes seem to get neglected more than any other body part.

Sports can contribute to a variety of ailments to your toes. Dancing, ballet, gymnastics, basketball, football, tennis, running and the list goes on. These are just some of the most common activities people present to us with problems to their toes. The most common conditions include blisters, nail trauma, and fractures to the toes.

Blisters are usually due to friction in the shoe. Too big of shoes that allow the foot to slide, or too tight of shoes that rub on your toes can all lead to blisters. In addition, excess moisture can lead to an increase in friction contributing to blisters on the toes.

Nail trauma is very common, due to sliding in the shoes, during sports like tennis and basketball. When the nail jams into the front of the shoe it can cause a subungual hematoma (blood under the nail) or cause the nail to become loose and lift up. Any trauma to the nail can cause the nail to permanently be damaged or allow a fungus to infect the injured nail.

Fractures of the toes are very common and can happen in all sports usually as a result of direct trauma. Ballet and gymnastics require a lot of pressure on the tips of the toes which can lead to stress fractures. Football is also a common sport due to players stepping on each other’s shoes with hard cleats.

Injuries to the foot, and especially toes, are inevitable in sports, but taking certain precautions can reduce your risks. Wearing the correct shoe for each activity and playing surface is critical as is wearing the correct shoe size for your foot. Socks are often overlooked but a good sock can wick away excess moisture that can help alleviate excess friction in the shoe. If any injury does happen to your toes don’t delay in treatment, because a simple blister to the toe or damage to a nail can lead to infection and long term deformities to the toes. Toe-Tal Foot and Ankle Care specializes in podiatric sports medicine and we treat a wide variety of sport injuries to the foot and ankle. Our goal is to get you back on your feet, so you can compete at your highest level. Please visit our website at for more information or call us at (817) 656-0303.

Watauga Podiatrist
Written by Dr. Daniel Cairns
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