Toenails, who needs them?

A friend posted to Facebook this week about losing a toenail. Actually, it’s a friend who may be familiar to readers of this blog since Shannon guest posted here about the walk that caused the toenail crisis.

Here’s the post: Lessons From Spinoza

Here’s her Facebook status: “Ew ew ew!!! What the cuss?? One of my toenails just fell off, painlessly and out of the blue. I’m like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. It’s horrifying! I think it’s related to the Spinoza walk. That was the toe that suffered the second most pain and swelling. I’m a little worried now that the toe that was the worst will soon go Goldblum on me too.

Many of us replied with stories of our own toenail losses. I lose one, the same one, pretty much once a year. It’s like having fallen off once it’s less attached to the idea of remaining part of my body. The process started with cross country skiing but now anything can set it off. I feel like I could look at this toenail the wrong way it would turn blue begin the great separation.

I told Shannon that endurance runners often get rid of their toenails to avoid this problem. Toenails are sensitive creatures and it turns out we don’t really need them. I’m not tempted to get the full set lopped off but this one non-committed toenail may face that fate in the future. It doesn’t hurt except when it’s in the process of falling off and getting caught on things but it is messy and annoying.


And ultramarathoners have their battered toenails surgically removed — for good. … or maybe even 5 percent are permanently removing their toenails.

“Runners who don’t want to contend with constantly bruised, ingrown and lost toenails sometimes have them removed permanently.”

““A lot of runners have problems with their feet,” explains Ulrich. “They get black toe, which is when you get a blister under the toenail and, in a few days, the toenail simply falls off.” Back in the mid-’90s, Ulrich never had more than three or four toenails at a time. “They were always in the process of falling off and growing back. And they were more bothersome every time they’d come back,” he says. So Ulrich decided he didn’t need them anyway. He asked a doctor if removing them was a possibility. It was.”



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