After a running exercise, your toes hurt, and you want to know what causes the sore so you can avoid them.

Every time your foot lands on the ground as you run, your toes slam into the toe box of your shoes if they are either too tight or too loose. This repeated impact will increase the blood flow to the toes, and this buildup cause swelling and pain.

Assuming your feet and toes are in good running conditions and your toes only hurt after running, let us find out why your toe hurts after running. Below is the list of the most likely causes that you can avoid easily: 

Your toes hurt if you have long toenails after running.

Running is an exercise that toes and feet are subject to a lot of stress and strain. Most of us run with our shoes on.

Our shoes are supposed to fit and wrap around our feet perfectly. If our shoes rub against any parts of our feet or toes, they will cause discomfort, callousness, etc.

If your toenails are too long, they will hit the inside of your shoes every time you land or your feet as you run. With thousands of times, you land on your feet, the same number of hits that your long toenails will be subject to. No wonder why your toe hurt after running with long toenails.

To prevent:

If you plan to run very regularly, trim your toenails short every two weeks. This way, they will not hit inside of the shoes. Instead, the soft flesh at the tips of the toes will hit the inside of the shoe first. Therefore, the impact on the toenails is minimal.

Always trim the toenails straight across as you can, especially the big toes, and use a nail file to round off the sharp corners on the sides. This way, you will avoid ingrown toenails.

Your toes or toenails hurt after running because long toenails are one of the most often causes and easily prevented.

Your toes hurt if the socks you wear are not made for running.

Your socks play a crucial role in proper shoe-wearing, especially when doing a long-running exercise.

The right socks can provide the toes and feet protection and great benefits:

  • Absorb moisture and sweat
  • Act as a protective layer to prevent toes and feet from rubbing against the thick, coarse surface inside the shoes.
  • Act as a soft cushioning layer to protect the feet and toes from the impact on the ground.
  • Keep toes and feet warm.

Find good running socks that can help you run with ease. Some socks are specifically made for running. Most of them are seamless hence relieving you from the friction at the toe box.

Running socks are made from acrylics and polyester making it easy to dry away sweat and moisture from the feet.

Avoid wearing cotton socks because they hold sweat and moisture and make your toes slippery.

Your toes will hurt if you wear the wrong-sized shoes for running.

Invest in fitting shoes. Your shoes could be loose from running or too tight for you. That way, you will need to get new pair that fit your feet. You need to be aware that the feet swell when the weather is hot. For that reason, you should buy shoes when it is hot as your feet are slightly enlarged. That way, you will create enough space for the foot to move around. 

Get quality insoles for your shoes. Buy shoes that have cushioned insoles. This will help keep you away from blisters. You will also feel comfortable running.

Why does your big toe hurt after running?

Big toes are also known as great toes. These big toes help you create forward momentum by creating more leverage. It is also the toe that handles more force during running.

Your big toe pain can be caused by hallux rigidus or turf toe, sesamoiditis among others.

Hallux rigudus is degenerative arthritis that affects the big toe.

Sesamoiditis causes the sesamoid bones to inflame, causing pain in your big toe.

You can also hurt your toe if your shoes do not fit well. This means that a tight-fitting shoe or a loose-fitting shoe can cause your toes to hurt. If left untreated, the big toe can be painful for a long time.

If you keep toenails long when running, you can also be at risk of injuring your big toes. Also, pain in your big toes can prevent you from running. Some of the symptoms of a hurt toenail are trouble walking, loss of a toenail, blood blisters, and prolonged pain.

Why does your second toe hurt after running?

Your second toe is located next to the big toe. When hurt, it turns black and painful, making every step uncomfortable. Sometimes it can also cause bleeding under your nail when the toe hits hard on the shoe during vigorous running.

Many reasons could make your second toe hurt after running. Some second toes are longer than the big toes making them hit the toe box of your shoe more frequently. For that reason, your toes are prone to blisters after running. You can also hurt your second toe if you have a tight shoe. A hammered or bent toe can also exacerbate blisters.

Why does your middle toe hurt after running?

The middle toe helps to push you off the ground as you run. It can hurt if you run long distances. You can damage your middle toenails if you run fast or long distances.

If you do not cut your toenails short. You can also have insoles that aren’t comfortable, thus hurting your toes. The more pressure you put to the toe box while running, the more pain and stress your toes have to endure.

For that reason, it is good that you run a safe distance so that your middle toe does not hurt too much. Your middle toenail can also hurt if you have tight-fitting shoes.

A tight shoe will always squeeze your toes together, causing more friction when running and leading to the formation of blisters.

A loose shoe can also make you run around too much, causing them to get sores.

How to treat your sore toes from running?

As a runner, it is possible to get sores toes from running. These sore toes can keep you away from running or even make you miss training until they are healed. Also, it can take a long time for your toenails to heal, especially if left untreated.

Because of the reason above, you should learn ways that can help you treat your sore toenails. Some of the methods include;

After running, you might need to remove your shoes and tie a bandage around your toe for some time. This helps your toes relieve excess pain.

You can also take some over-the-counter pain relief to lessen the pain.

You should take a rest immediately after running and take a break from running for some time until your toes heal completely.

You can also use ice cubes to relieve swelling and excess pain by numbing the affected toes.

If the pain is intense or the sores are severe, you visit your doctor for a complete examination. For example, the doctor might need to ask you for an x-ray to examine the problem before giving any medication.

How to stop your toes from hurting when running?

To avoid getting painful blisters when running, you can learn to prepare so you can run comfortably without hurting your toes. Follow some of the tips below to help your toes remain intact after running. They include:

Invest in fitting shoes. If your shoes are too loose or too tight, you will need to get a new pair that fits your feet.

Get quality insoles for your shoes. Buy shoes that have cushioned insoles. This will help keep you away from blisters. You will also feel comfortable running.

Do not remove calluses or thick skin completely. Instead, our body develops thick skin to protect the soft tissues from being damaged from friction. If you remove the calluses, you might get blisters.

If you do get a pedicureOpens in a new tab. from a nail salon, you should tell your pedicurist before she starts that leave the thick skin on your feet and toes, unless these thick skin or callouses are excessively thick that they interfere with your shoes.


Beside from working all day long that can cause foot painOpens in a new tab., you can hurt your toes after a vigorous running exercise while getting your toes intact after running. But how you manage the hurting toes is what can keep you going. Toes formation can also determine whether you will get hurt while running or not.

I hope you reduce the toe pain by incorporating some of the tips above.

To achieve all your personal running goals, it is essential that you know how to take care of your feet, especially your toes, so they will not get hurt or injured because any injury to the feet or toes takes a long time to heal.

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

Notice concerning medical entries:

Articles having medical content shall serve exclusively for the purpose of general information. Such articles are not suitable for any (self-) diagnosis and treatment of individual illnesses and medical indications. In particular, they cannot substitute for the examination, advice, or treatment by a licensed physician or pharmacist. No replies to any individual questions shall be effected through the articles.

Recent Posts