The Snowball Effect of Toe Trauma: Skier's Toe

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SkiingLocals and visitors alike love spending time skiing at the various resorts in our Denver, CO community. No matter which of the slopes they visit, there is a chance skiers may experience a fairly common condition known in the community as “skier's toe.”

This might seem odd, but skier's toe is actually a condition that runners can develop! The reason for this is the fact that it’s simply another name for subungual hematoma (which is also called “black toenail”). In this condition, pressure in the toe box of an ill-fitting ski boot or any other instance of physical trauma can result in bleeding under the toenail. The same thing happens when a runner’s shoes are too tight and the toenail continually strikes the front of the shoe.

When the blood pools under the nail, it creates a darkened appearance. There may also be pain or discomfort from the pressure caused by the pooled blood. Some cases will result in separation of the nail from its nailbed.

If you observe this condition after spending some time on the slopes—or following a long run!—come see us and we can provide the care you need. This might simply entail using sterile equipment to drill a hole so the pooled fluid can drain. Depending on the severity, we may need to remove the nail.

It is better to allow us to handle a black toenail for two reasons. One, trying to drain it on your own could potentially lead to an infection. Two, a darkened nail could be an indication of malignant melanoma. Now, this is actually rare, but we can biopsy the area if need be to ensure that you do not have this dangerous form of cancer, or enable you to get early treatment in the unlikely event you do.

Skiing is obviously a popular pastime in our region, and we hope you are able to enjoy this activity injury-free. When injuries like skier's toe strike, Podiatry Associates, P.C. is ready to help! Toe trauma is just one of the many conditions that we are able to treat in our patients. Connect with us today for additional information or to schedule your appointment at our Cherry Creek (Denver), Parker, or Castle Pines, CO offices. Simply use our online form or give us a call at (303) 805-5156 and we will be glad to provide the assistance you need.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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