Blue toe - Sport toenail injuries

How do you get this?
Blue toe can be caused by toes constantly crashing into the end of sports shoes/boots during sports, especially if there are abrupt stops or constant pounding of the foot. It most commonly occurs in tennis, football, cricket and jogging. First and second toes are most often involved in football and tennis whilst jogging tends to affect the third, fourth or fifth toe.

Initially moderately painful toe with blue discolouration under the nail. If the injury is more severe the toenail may gradually come off (and usually be replaced by a new one).

Treatment and prevention
Properly fitting shoes/boots are essential. If you get painful or blue toes and your shoes are not too small, then your feet almost certainly slide around in the shoes too much. Lacing should help the shoe to fit snugly and prevent sideways or forward movement of the foot. Different styles of lacing suit differently shaped feet. Occasionally or as an interim measure it may be necessary to cut the shoe over the damaged toes. If you feel that there are any unusual features to your injury or that your injury is not improving as expected you should seek medical advice.

Further information

This article published on
12 December 2005

Next review date 12/1/2013


First aid
Smoking and drugs

Areaof the body

Legs, knees, ankles, feet

Male or female?


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