I remember the day it happened. I felt vulnerable. How would I heal? Could I feel like myself again? Could I cover this up? I tried to salvage the last stage of complete perish. I don’t mean to overblow this. But it’s impossible to trivialize losing a toe nail. A big toe nail. I was playing soccer and the repeated beatings my feet took on the field, the ball, and, ahem, other’s shin guards bruised my toes. My big toe was bruised so badly that the toenail lifted. As dramatic as I’m being, I know that I’m not alone. Runners, basketball players, tennis players – pretty much anyone who plays rec sport that involves shoes – feel and know my pain. When I Googled “runners pedicures” that opened up an online debate that I wasn’t expecting. There was back and forth about saving that thickened skin. How blisters are earned armour. And so on.
My feet in white. It was a good day. But how could I just leave my feet the way they were? I couldn’t. I met with celeb nail artist and global nail designer for L’Oréal Paris Tom Bachik, who recently partnered with Dr. Scholl’s, and I had to get his insight on the debate – should active women have pedis?
Me and Tom Bachik, baes for life. “I would recommend a pedicure, especially because of all the trauma your feet go through,” says Bachik. “The pressure of the shoes on the toes will put force on the skin around the nail. You want to trim toe nails so that they have a bit growth with a white tip. You don’t want to cut them so short that you can’t see the end of the nail. That would cause a callus and an ingrown nail.” He adds: “A pedicure is going to revitalize the foot and help increase circulation. If you do have calluses from all the training, bring that back down to where it should naturally be.” And he’s seen his share of roughed-up tootsies, even on his celebrity clientele. That makes sense. Prevention is always key. Perhaps I wouldn’t have lost the nail if I kept my nails trim. I still check in with a doctor about the whole protective skin bit. “Runners do like to build up a bit of a callus,” says Dr. Anatoli Freeman, a Toronto-based dermatologist speaking on behalf of nailfungus.ca. “But too much of a buildup wouldn’t be good because it creates more pressure on the feet. For deep calluses, I would recommend filing them to soften up the skin. But a bit of hardening is good because it creates a bit of a cushion. You don’t want more pressure because that can cause more pain and more trauma to the foot.” So armed a kit of Dr. Scholl’s products, Skin Republic bootie foot masks and Amopé Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File, I decide I’m okay with prepping my feet for my running shoes. While the creams and treatments are easy enough, I decide to do a bit of digging about the spinny foot file. Paul Ellis, part of the research and development team for Reckitt Benckiser, which makes the Amopé foot file, assures me that the file is made of silicone carbide. It’s a mineral, he says was chosen because of it’s “gentle way.” And it works for all skin types. Surprisingly it’s a lot less aggressive than it looks. And I don’t even find I need to soften skin beforehand. I’m pretty chuffed that my bumpy looking toes are cleaner and prettier. And I’m not as traumatized from the experience at all.
Me, in Los Cabos, after my Tom Bachik pedicure. Lucky me!
Lisa Hannam is Glow's health editor and unofficial guinea pig for test-driving new workouts, fitness gear and nutrition trends. When not combing through food label claims and evaluating new vitamins and supplements, Lisa can be found at her desk most days, translating the medical journal jargon into understandable English. Follow her on Instagram @lisahannam, Twitter @lisahannam, as well as on Pinterest at pinterest.com/lisahannam and tumblr at lisahannam.tumblr.com.