What Is Skier’s Toe? How Do You Stop Skiing Toes?


When it comes to the sport of skiing, there is no escaping the fact that it comes with risks. Depending on how much you ski, your body, and especially your toes, may begin to deteriorate over time. But what is a skier’s toe, and how do you treat it? It is one of the most prevalent skiing injuries.

An injury that frequently affects the big toe is known as “skier’s toe.” When your ski boots put persistent pressure on the big toe’s nail, the nail bed is repeatedly traumatized, causing it to start bleeding. The area will change color and become black as a result of this. Hematoma subungual refers to the medical word for the problem, skier’s toe.

In most cases, a skier’s toe isn’t life-threatening and can be treated with over-the-counter remedies. What causes subungual hematoma, and what can be done to avoid it from happening again? Let’s take a deeper look.

Help! My entire big toe changed color and turned black in a matter of days!

Coming off the hills and seeing that the bottom of the big toenail is turning an unsettling shade of black, it’s tempting to worry about stuff like frostbite. For your peace of mind, a subungual hematoma, also known as a skier’s toe, is most likely to blame if the dark color is under the nail.

When your ski boots put pressure on your toes, it’s usually because they don’t fit properly. Too tiny boots allow the toes to press in the front of the boot, while too large ones don’t provide enough support for your foot to walk properly. As a result, the toes will repeatedly knock against the front of the boot.

To get the characteristic black mark, keratin (the nail’s substance) will be stained when the bleeding begins. Only when the blood pools and causes discomfort does this become more serious damage.

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 Is There a Home Remedy for Skier’s Toe?

While a skier toe may appear alarming, it is usually not a life-threatening injury. Consult with your doctor right away so he or she can determine the right plan of action for you.

You may be urged to do nothing in less serious circumstances. This is usually a good idea if the blackness doesn’t cover more than half of the nail or you’re not in any discomfort. The subungual hematoma or skier’s toe may need to be drained if feel unbearable pain. Despite the ominous sounding nature of this process, it’s actually quite straightforward and often painless.

A sterilized needle or a warmed sharp tool will be used to make a hole in your toenail when you visit your doctor. Blood and pressure can be relieved as a result of this procedure. You will feel better as soon as the pressure is relieved because it is the source of pain. It will instantly cure your skier’s toe.

Take excellent care of yourself at home even if you don’t have a doctor who will drain the damage. Sit with your foot and ankle raised and an ice pack used to alleviate pressure and swelling in the foot further.

You can also use a bandage to halt further bleeding by compressing the toe and keeping it in place. We recommend taking over-the-counter painkillers if you’re feeling any discomfort. Your doctor will be able to give you medicine if the pain gets unbearable.

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Quick Note

Draining a wound with your own hands may result in cross-contamination, therefore use sterile instruments. It’s also possible that you won’t be able to drain the injury thoroughly enough, which could lead to injury. There have been reports from doctors regarding people watching web videos on skier’s toe and how to drain a toe. After watching these videos, patients have also swooned, which may be quite gory. You may fall and injure yourself further as a result of this. In a nutshell, it’s not worth it.

Is It Possible to Ski With a Skier Toe?

Following toe draining, the nail may fall out because of swelling. An entirely new nail may not grow back for up to eight weeks, and during that time, the affected area may feel particularly fragile. You may have to wait up to a year for your new nail to grow in if you don’t have the toe drained and it remains dark.

There is no reason why you cannot continue your daily activities, including skiing, as long as you are not in pain. But if the toenail becomes inflamed or painful, you might have a skier’s toe again. In that case, you should see your doctor, who’ll be able to give you customized advice on whether to rest or continue exercising.

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How Do You Prevent Skier Toes?

In order to avoid acquiring a skier’s toe or any infection like that, it’s important to make sure your skiing boots are properly fitted at all times. Make sure you receive the correct fit for your boots before buying them, even if you just need them for a single ski trip.

The boots themselves are often blamed; however, if your socks are all crumpled up inside of them, these can place undue stress on your feet. Therefore, make sure that the socks you wear are also well fitted.

We all have different-sized feet, and some individuals may suffer from problems like bunions, which produce bony protrusions around the toes on the side of their feet. Boots with a bigger toe box are required in this situation. It’s almost certain that the skier’s toe will result if you don’t adjust the boots.

Always strive to lean towards your boots when skiing so that your shins remain firmly on the boot. You can avoid toe banging if the feet are not pushed towards the front of the boot.


Many people suffer from skier’s toe and other small injuries following a day on the slopes. While it may be necessary to seek medical attention if it is giving you any discomfort, it will go away on its own the majority of the time. When your ski boots apply pressure on your toes, this can cause infection under the nail bed, which in turn stains the keratin, producing a black mark. But believe us when we say it appears worse than it really is.

Make sure your ski boots fit you precisely to avoid developing a skier’s toe. An injury that may have been prevented by getting your boots properly fitted is preferable.