Ugly toenails!
July 22, 2011 1:16 PM   Subscribe

As a result of habitual distance running, I have very ugly toenails. As I'm male it's not socially acceptable for me to paint them, so what can I do to mitigate their unloveliness?
posted by killdevil to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go get a polishless pedicure and ask the nail technician to make you gawgeous!
posted by 200burritos at 1:19 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Embrace the ugly.

If they're already ugly, why not paint them something fun and colorful? Show them off and talk about the price of distance running. So go ahead, go wild, and embrace the ugly. Your friends will think it's cool, and who cares what strangers think.
posted by HeyAllie at 1:19 PM on July 22, 2011

Regular pedicures can be as addictive as crack.
posted by hortense at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

agreed -- painting the toes would be very cool. Go with "manly" colors. Army green? Awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 1:24 PM on July 22, 2011

Perhaps this is too obvious, but have you considered shoes?
posted by Scientist at 1:25 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Perhaps this is too obvious, but have you considered shoes?

Surely, but 'tis the season for sandals.
posted by killdevil at 1:26 PM on July 22, 2011

As a man who gets and enjoys pedicures, I recommend you try getting one!
posted by Renoroc at 1:28 PM on July 22, 2011

Even if your toenails are really bruised, getting a pedicure (you can get one with a clear coat, no color) will make them look 100% better. Also, you can pay a little extra for a leg scrub/massage that feels fantastic.
posted by muddgirl at 1:30 PM on July 22, 2011

Yeah, if you have ugly feet parts, you should be going for a pedicure weekly. In a month, you'll look almost normal! No polish, obviously. The secret to a good pedicure isn't price, by the way: the best pedicure in New York, for instance, costs $14. (Avenue A, if you must know.) But find someone GOOD. Usually it'll be a busy place, and not very attractive.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 1:30 PM on July 22, 2011

I have known several very studly, fit, very manly men who regularly painted their toenails blue or green, or other non-girly colors. I always thought it was hot. And a sure sign of confidence... these dudes were totally at ease with themselves.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 1:30 PM on July 22, 2011

Can you define "ugly"? Because depending on the type of "ugly," there are three things you could do.

If they're just broken/weird shaped, a pedicure wll take care of it.

If they're bruised, that goes away.

If there's a chance that it's a fungal infection, there are medical treatments for that.

There are probably more I'm not thinking of, but it depends on whatever the judge's ruling is on the definition of "ugly".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

"Why are your toenails all messed up?"
"Because I run like a badass."
posted by jander03 at 1:36 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you sure you can't pull off nail polish? Black? Electric blue? I've seen it on men, and it's cool. Kinda helps if you're not the buttoned-down type, though.
posted by Knowyournuts at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2011

Let's see: a few of the nails are bruised/blackened due to dried blood underneath, while others are abnormally thickened, misshapen and yellowish. A couple have both problems going on.
posted by killdevil at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2011

Hmm. The abnormally thickened and yellowish sounds like it may be worth a visit to see whether there is any fungal grody going on in there, and that's treatable. The bruising can fade on its own.

Sort of that, I also like what jander said.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:48 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I feel for you, man. I have the same problem.

"Surely, but 'tis the season for sandals"

Screw sandals, man, get yourself a pair of Vibrams. Comfort + toe coverage.

Alternatively, try some sandals that cover your toes, like these Tevas.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:56 PM on July 22, 2011

There are a handful of UFC fighters that paint their toenails black.
Here's a recent little blurb in US magazine - it mentions Seal and Chuck Liddell.
Just sayin'.
And yeah, get checked out for something fungal - the yellowing and thickening of the nails is often a symptom of that.
posted by flex at 2:18 PM on July 22, 2011

Keen Newports totally finesse the grody toe issue, though it's my experience that they get stinky after they've been wet. If you need something to go in and out of the water and not get smelly, try pool shoes. If you want to do yoga or pilates without letting out your secret, get Toe Sox.
posted by apparently at 2:21 PM on July 22, 2011

Another vote for a pedicure without polish.

My apologies if you already know this. A pedicure is more than a foot massage and some red nail polish. They scrub your feet, get all of the calluses off, clean up the cuticles around your nails, etc etc. Your feet will look much better, if your problems are superficial and not fungal.
posted by teragram at 2:31 PM on July 22, 2011

If you want to paint your nails, paint them. As an adult, you can do what you want, within reason. Right? Otherwise go for a pedicure.
posted by Decani at 2:45 PM on July 22, 2011

I'll do you one better. I'm a minimal shoe distance and trail runner and soccer player. I also generally don't like to wear shoes. I have the feet of an elderly longshoreman who has feet for hands and I'm sure tis awful but I'm proud of them in a way, so I don't really worry about it.

I have to say, though, that I'm pretty convinced by this thread to try painting them a color.
posted by cmoj at 2:51 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

The yellowing and thickening sounds a bit like it might be a fungal infection (IMAD) it might be worth a trip to a podiatrist just to check it out. It's pretty easy to treat just use a fungacide cream on it though you have to keep using it and wait for the nail to grow out but it will grow back looking less thick and yellow. You can just use selsun blue anti dandruff shampoo too, which is what my doctor recommended when he was looking at my feet for something else as its much cheaper.

I also think a pedicure is the way to go. I love guys with black nail polish on, and that would hide a multitude of sins.
posted by wwax at 6:12 PM on July 22, 2011

I don't think it's a fungal infection- I'm a runner and a soccer player and have what I like to call Halloween Feet. Since I'm female, I paint my toenails a dark color to cover up the blue and oddly thickened nails. I agree that a pedicure without polish (or with a clear polish) is definitely the way to go- they do a lot of maintenance in terms of scrubbing away dead skin and trimming the nails that will make your feet look and feel cleaner and healthier. And I've seen men getting it done before so the staff won't look at you askance or anything.
posted by emd3737 at 6:51 PM on July 22, 2011

You could paint them a "nude". No one would be able to tell.
posted by Silly Ashles at 10:43 PM on July 22, 2011

FWIW, I'm a female distance runner who also has Perennially Grody Feet -- especially this time of year when I'm on the trails a lot, I have all manner of calluses, bruises, dirt ingrained so far into the cuticles that a scrub brush can't get it out, etc.

I decided to stop worrying about the toenail issue. If someone's critically appraising my frigging toenails, it indicates a severe lack of better things to think about in their life. I feel like sanding off the calluses is usually worth it, but who has the time to go get pedicured every week? Especially since as soon as you go for a long run, you're gonna end up with another blister or bruised nail or something -- I usually just soak my feet in cold water, get as much of the dirt and callus off as I can, and maybe apply polish if I'm wearing sandals and need to look nice. And if anyone is blatantly staring at your feet, you can always be all "yeah, I know my nails are kind of bruised; it's because I am a stupendous badass who runs more miles in a day than most people walk in a week."

Another suggestion might be to take up trail running: you WILL fall every now and again, and a nice collection of scrapes, cuts, and bruises will go a long way towards distracting people from the condition of your toenails :D
posted by kataclysm at 6:57 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

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