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Losing a toe nail

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Hi,

as a result of my last camino I lost a toe nail. Now, 5 months later it has grown again.

But it was weird: Only a little blister at the bottom of the nail, nothing painful. I opened the Blister, desinfected it and thought it was okay. But after two or three days the nail turned grey and the toe felt a bit numb. Back home I asked I friend, who is a surgeon, to have a look at it. He advised me to bathe the toe in desinfectant liquid twice a day to prevent a possible infection from spreading. The numbness ceased quickly. After 4 weeks the nail fell off.

On the camino I worried more about my right big toe. The nail bed was red, inflamed - probably because of the shoes rubbing as the lining of the shoes had become worn. I would rather have expected to loose this toe nail as it was very painful. I even attempted to see the health service in Negreira on this issue, but gave up after waiting more than 2 hours in a crowded ambulance with new more urgent cases coming in every couple of minutes. As I was determined to continue to Fisterra and Muxia I did not want to hear that I should not walk with that any longer. However, Walking the next day did neither cause more pain nor make the appearance of the toe worse. So I continued and taped my toe for protection. I took off the tape and the walking shoes as soon as I reached my daily destination, allowed the toe air and freee space by walking about in my flip-flops. Back from my camino this toe healed quickly without any remarkable consequence.

From this experience I have learnt to watch my toes carefully and to take numbness as a sign of a severe injury.

BC
Alexandra
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
@Via2010
The first time that toe nails start separating and falling off can be disconcerting. I am used to this happening during and after long walks, without pain or long term bad effects. They don't hurt and they always grow back, so it is no real problem (for me). But of course the first thing that any long distance walker needs to pay attention to is the state of one's feet. I might be able to avoid this if I adjusted the lacing on my boots every time I walked downhill. I just never got around to it, as there did not seem to be a need and I don't want to break the rhythm of my walk unnecessarily.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
From this experience I have learnt to watch my toes carefully and to take numbness as a sign of a severe injury.
I am quite used to losing toe nails now and again - in fact I very rarely have a complete set! That does not worry me. But I do not associate that with numbness in my toes and that would be a cause for concern. I would want to find professional advice from a doctor or podiatrist if that happened for any significant length of time.
 

ksam

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
I think I have to agree with @Bradypus. I'm losing a toenail from the Primitive right now. The base is already regrowing and pushing on the old dead nail, which I expect to pop off shortly. This is the second time this toe has done this. The previous loss was only a problem for my sons wedding!! Kinda have to go with very neutral nail polish when you don't have a complete set of them!! :rolleyes: Ohh the problem we women suffer through!! ;) But as @Albertagirl said they grow back and its not painful.

I've never had any numbness. That would be a cause for concern. Perhaps it's just from shoes that are a bit too short or tight? But worth getting it check out by a Dr.
 

Dorpie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
I'm another one not overly concerned by nail loss. It isn't pretty but as long as I don't try and remove the old nail before there are signs of growth from a new one I causes me zero pain.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Hi,

as far as I understood my surgeon friend the numbness was a sign of the infection. So I can only advise other pilgrims to take this seriously, not thinking it is due to to small/tight shoes or wrong socks.

I think my problems were neither caused by wrong shoes (I wore them on the Camino Portuguese in 2017, too, and the entire Camino Primitivo without any problems) nor by steep descents. It also seems that the liner of the shoe was not responsible as I have been on several walks with these shoes thereafter without any problem.

I can only guess that it is owed to the fact that I walked the last stage to Santiago together with someone who was not walking perfectly at my speed.

BC
Alexandra
 

ShaLaw

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
I am quite used to losing toe nails now and again - in fact I very rarely have a complete set! That does not worry me. But I do not associate that with numbness in my toes and that would be a cause for concern. I would want to find professional advice from a doctor or podiatrist if that happened for any significant length of time.
I didn't lose any toenails, but the big toe on my right foot went numb around day 12 of my camino. Although it was numb, I would press it and it would go white and then pink again very quickly, so I knew my circulation was fine. As it so happened, I had scheduled a physical with my doctor upon my return and mentioned it to her, as it was still numb, about a month later. She said I likely pinched a nerve in my back or in my foot, and that the feeling would return, ultimately, which it did, but it did take another month or two to do so. I'm just thankful that is the extent of the damage to my body after walking at least 25kms a day for 32 days -- I mean, I was expecting some sort of damage -- how can one pound the ground for hours and hours everyday, and not have something fun to show for it?!

Buen Camino
 

Meggins

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
I always (from previous hiking experience) know that my feet swell a lot. My Camino boots are always a half size bigger than my normal shoe size. After all one doesn't normally do that mileage day after day for 6 weeks at a time. Never had a blister, a black toe nail, or lost a nail over 3 CFs. |Note:LLBean has some interesting demos on lacing techniques which could also prove helpful for some folk
 

Sixwheeler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
I had a toenail turn black and lifted from the nail bed but hung on. Doctor said I'd lose the nail but a podiatrist said she thought it might grow back, she trimmed what was left and it looked really ugly. Almost a year and a half later I felt sure that it had started growing and started photographing it every couple of weeks and proved it was. Now, about three years later, it looks pretty much normal. It does have a stress ridge down it which tends to split and catch in my sock so I glue it closed with nail glue. As it happens I'd just finished gluing it when I read this thread, I've just checked and the glue is nearly dry.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (from Ferrol June 2014)
Camino Portuguese (from Tui May 2015)
it was still numb, about a month later. She said I likely pinched a nerve in my back or in my foot, and that the feeling would return, ultimately, which it did, but it did take another month or two to do so.
I had this exact same experience. My first Camino (10 days) my right big toe went numb on the 2nd day. Everything else about the toe looked normal at the time and after. But I saw a podiatrist when I got home anyway and he said not to worry, it was a nerve issue. Feeling did come back within a couple of months.

The following year I walked another 10 days, in the exact same style of shoe and no numbness. But I was some 80 lbs lighter, so that appears to have been the cause for me.
 

Rick Chollett

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring of 2018.
Hi,

as a result of my last camino I lost a toe nail. Now, 5 months later it has grown again.

But it was weird: Only a little blister at the bottom of the nail, nothing painful. I opened the Blister, desinfected it and thought it was okay. But after two or three days the nail turned grey and the toe felt a bit numb. Back home I asked I friend, who is a surgeon, to have a look at it. He advised me to bathe the toe in desinfectant liquid twice a day to prevent a possible infection from spreading. The numbness ceased quickly. After 4 weeks the nail fell off.

On the camino I worried more about my right big toe. The nail bed was red, inflamed - probably because of the shoes rubbing as the lining of the shoes had become worn. I would rather have expected to loose this toe nail as it was very painful. I even attempted to see the health service in Negreira on this issue, but gave up after waiting more than 2 hours in a crowded ambulance with new more urgent cases coming in every couple of minutes. As I was determined to continue to Fisterra and Muxia I did not want to hear that I should not walk with that any longer. However, Walking the next day did neither cause more pain nor make the appearance of the toe worse. So I continued and taped my toe for protection. I took off the tape and the walking shoes as soon as I reached my daily destination, allowed the toe air and freee space by walking about in my flip-flops. Back from my camino this toe healed quickly without any remarkable consequence.

From this experience I have learnt to watch my toes carefully and to take numbness as a sign of a severe injury.

BC
Alexandra
I used Cross for my resting shoes. While putting them on in Roncecalles the toenail of my middle toe left foot caught in one of the holes and it peeled up. Now I had a flapper! I taped it down and continued on. Three days later (I washed it and changed the tape daily) it began to hurt. I trimmed the nail back and blood spurt out from under it. Never had a problem after that. It finally fell off about twelve days later.
It's grown back now.
 

Deputy Dan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Logrono to Burgos in week of October (2017); Camino Frances in 2019 or 2020
Did several 20-25 km practice walks in all the same gear (and heavier pack!) that I would wear on the Camino without incident - yet on day two of said Camino I developed a blister right at the top of the nail. One of my hiking companions is a doctor - he took one look at the blister and said, as he snapped his Leatherman pliers in my direction, "You're going to lose that toenail. Want me to pull it off now?" I said "no thanks!" It fell off painlessly a week or so later, and grew back without incident.
 

Ernesto.IT

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Hi,

as a result of my last camino I lost a toe nail. Now, 5 months later it has grown again.

But it was weird: Only a little blister at the bottom of the nail, nothing painful. I opened the Blister, desinfected it and thought it was okay. But after two or three days the nail turned grey and the toe felt a bit numb. Back home I asked I friend, who is a surgeon, to have a look at it. He advised me to bathe the toe in desinfectant liquid twice a day to prevent a possible infection from spreading. The numbness ceased quickly. After 4 weeks the nail fell off.

On the camino I worried more about my right big toe. The nail bed was red, inflamed - probably because of the shoes rubbing as the lining of the shoes had become worn. I would rather have expected to loose this toe nail as it was very painful. I even attempted to see the health service in Negreira on this issue, but gave up after waiting more than 2 hours in a crowded ambulance with new more urgent cases coming in every couple of minutes. As I was determined to continue to Fisterra and Muxia I did not want to hear that I should not walk with that any longer. However, Walking the next day did neither cause more pain nor make the appearance of the toe worse. So I continued and taped my toe for protection. I took off the tape and the walking shoes as soon as I reached my daily destination, allowed the toe air and freee space by walking about in my flip-flops. Back from my camino this toe healed quickly without any remarkable consequence.

From this experience I have learnt to watch my toes carefully and to take numbness as a sign of a severe injury.

BC
Alexandra
Finally !!! I am please to know now to whom all those toe nail hanging about all over the camino belong to.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
I didn't lose any toenails, but the big toe on my right foot went numb around day 12 of my camino. Although it was numb, I would press it and it would go white and then pink again very quickly, so I knew my circulation was fine. As it so happened, I had scheduled a physical with my doctor upon my return and mentioned it to her, as it was still numb, about a month later. She said I likely pinched a nerve in my back or in my foot, and that the feeling would return, ultimately, which it did, but it did take another month or two to do so. I'm just thankful that is the extent of the damage to my body after walking at least 25kms a day for 32 days -- I mean, I was expecting some sort of damage -- how can one pound the ground for hours and hours everyday, and not have something fun to show for it?!

Buen Camino
I had this exact same experience. My first Camino (10 days) my right big toe went numb on the 2nd day. Everything else about the toe looked normal at the time and after. But I saw a podiatrist when I got home anyway and he said not to worry, it was a nerve issue. Feeling did come back within a couple of months.

The following year I walked another 10 days, in the exact same style of shoe and no numbness. But I was some 80 lbs lighter, so that appears to have been the cause for me.
I'm on the Levante at present and have been experiencing toe numbness. Never had it last camino. This camino is a winter one so much more gear and that has made the difference. I ended up buying some gel plantar supports which add a layer of cushioning to the ball of your foot and the numbness is resolving .
 

Mark B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF & Finesterre (4-5/2011); Roncesvalles to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, CdN-Primitivo (2-4/2014).
This won't solve every problem of pressure on the toes, for instance where the shoe is not long enough, but try skipping the first set of eyelets when lacing, those closest to the toes. It's not always an issue, depending on eyelet placement, but it was a necessity for me when I wore Lowa Renegades (many pairs). It may allow the toes to spread out a bit and alleviate some of the pressure bearing down on top of the toes.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I have the feeling that my feet grow longer with every new camino. So buy your shoes long and wide enough. Everything else can be solved by changing socks, insoles and lacing.

Sometimes various models of the same brand come in different fits. For example I could not cope with Salomons new lacing they use for "Speedcross 4" nowadays. It did not fix the shoe to my heels, I felt they were slipping. So I switched to a model with traditional lacing "Speedcross Vario 2" and everything was ok.

In my experience Meindl shoes are slightly wider in the forefoot are than Lowas.
 

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