Warning! Runner’s Feet

by Carilyn on February 22, 2012

** Please be advised that the following images are not for the faint of heart or cry babies.  People who are squeamish, easily nauseated, grossed out, or have a foot fetish should not read further.

I hate feet.  I have an anti-foot fetish.  Feet, in general, gross me out.  I don’t like people touching my feet, and I sure as heck don’t want to touch theirs!  Ick!

And running has been unkind to my already unattractive feet.  I have lost toenails, grown callouses, and torqued a couple of my toes into weird positions.  My feet, after 6 years of ultrarunning, look like they belong on the witch from Hansel and Gretel.

After my last 24 Hour race, I found I was down two toenails, and two more were black.  If you’ve ever lost a toenail, you know that as the new one grows back, the toe is very sensitive for several weeks.  I also had blisters on top of blisters.  It had rained steadily for several hours, thus I was running with wet feet for the last hours of the race.  When I took my shoes off, I had bloody blisters on almost every toe (did I mention this post was going to be gross?).

Now, I didn’t just describe my disgusting post-race feet for grins (remember, I told foot-fetish people not to read further).  I described my sad feet so that you might better understand the following photo, and hopefully not hurl up your Cap’n Crunch when you see it:

Ugly feet

Runner's Feet

Agghhhhhhhhh!!!!  I warned you!

It has been 2 months since the race, but my toes have been too sensitive to get a pedicure.  Basically, because I hate feet so much, I have just ignored them.  Until last night in the bathtub.  Yuck!  There, right in front of me, were the ugliest runner’s feet!  And, unfortunately they were mine.

Time to get serious.

First, I tried just covering them.


Ugg is right!

But it is California, and it is starting to get warm.  Really warm.  One hour in my Uggs and my feet were sweating.  This wasn’t going to work.

So, it was time to suck it up, put my squeamishness aside, and get a pedicure.  I felt so sorry for the nice lady who had to work on them, but like a true professional, she didn’t retch once.

Runner's Feet Pedicure

Painted Runner's Feet, But Still Runner's Feet

Much better, but still not pretty.  (You notice I did not zoom in on this photo.)  Two of the “nails” are actually just painted skin.  I’m hoping they will re-grow someday, but it’s not looking promising.  Yes, I know, too much information.

If you want to avoid getting feet like mine from running, you might want to take a look at “Fixing Your Feet,” by John Vonhof.  John is the foot “guru” for runners, often doing foot duty at major ultras like Badwater.  I wish I had known about him when I first started running.  I could have saved myself, and my poor pedicurist, a lot of grief.

Down with Ugly Feet!

Happy Running!


Marcia February 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm

My black toenails always hang on somehow until the new nail is mostly grown in so I’ve been spared much of the pain. We need press on toenails!

Carilyn February 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I know what you mean! I have a couple of black ones hiding under that red nail polish 🙂

olga February 23, 2012 at 7:48 am

Well, then, you don’t want to see my feet. May be since Drymax introduction a few years back the blisters had practically eliminated themselves, but the toenails die at a rate faster than baby poops. While on injury break of 8 months, I grew ’em all back (my normal state is 2 out of 10 exist, and as recent as 2 weeks ago Larry looked and asked “What is it on your feet?” meaning he forgot what toenails look like on me). But one marathon later, I lost 2 already. And it’s simply a very known cause – I like my shoes tight and snag:) I am bound to live toe-less, I just wish they never even tried to grow back.

Carilyn February 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

I love Drymax! Unfortunately, it just rained too long for even them! I bet if we got us all together and took a picture of our feet it would be quite a sight! 🙂

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: