Toe Woes

How can I keep from losing my toenails during long backpacks?

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I’ve had problems with toenail loss on my great toes. Recently I lost my left toenail after a six-day hike on the AT. My right foot was fine. A thru hiker says I need larger boots, but my toes don’t touch the end of the boot, so what is a good remedy?

Submitted by – Tony, Bogart, GA


Pressure on the top of your toes can cause toenail loss, too. There are several preventative options you can try. Longer boots might work. Wider boots might do the job just as well. Sometimes an arch support holds your toes farther back in your boots and with a slight downward turn that could relieve pressure. And, finally, you can try lacing your boots more snugly, especially before downhill terrain. I suggest you have your boots fitted by a pro, and be sure to tell that person your toe problem. —Buck

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