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Can You Play Soccer Without A Toenail?

Can You Play Soccer Without A Toenail?

One of the best assets of soccer players is their feet. The toenail is as important as other parts of a soccer player’s feet although it may sometimes seem insignificant in soccer because it is always enclosed in soccer boots throughout durations of matches.

The exterior part of the human toenails is composed of many layers of keratin and compacted dead cells. Keratin is responsible for giving the toenails its hardness and rigidity even though it somehow manages to remain flexible, Keratin can also be found in the eye’s cornea, hair, and the skin’s epidermis layer.

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Toenails are not useless body parts inherited by modern humans from evolution as claimed by some evolutionists. Both toenails and fingernails play very important roles in the human body, most important of them all are serving as protection for our fingers and toes.

Before civilization, nails were majorly used for doing basic tasks such as scratching, cutting, scraping, peeling, grasping, and fighting. In modern times, nails are mostly maintained for their aesthetic value.


While playing soccer, the toenails often take much of the pounding and beating throughout the duration of the match. Soccer players often neglect to take proper care of their toenails until they get injured or completely damaged.

Toenails deserve to be treated better since they are responsible for giving soccer players a proper grip on the ground while running.

We are glad you are reading this article because we will be teaching you how to take proper care of your toenails and other important information concerning toenails in the game of soccer.

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Can you play soccer without a toenail?

It is undeniable that soccer is a beautiful sport amidst all its numerous injuries and chaos. Aside from other soccer-related injuries, we shall be focusing mainly on toe-related injuries and infections that can cause toenails to damage or detach—which may constrain or abruptly stop you from playing soccer.

Toenail damage in soccer can be caused by a fungal infection, injury, and psoriasis, meanwhile toenails can also get damaged or detach due to serious ailments, reactions, medications, and exposure to harsh chemicals.

Toenail injury has been treated

Once a toenail has completely detached from the nail bed, which marks the end of its lifespan, it can’t be surgically re-fixed. You must wait for a new toenail to grow before getting back on the pitch.

At the instance of losing a toenail, it is either you take proper precautions or completely quit soccer until your toenail grows back within 6 to 12 months.

The toe-related injuries and infections mentioned in this article may already be familiar to you. We explained them extensively to help you understand them better.

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Bloody Toenail

Soccer players regularly sustain injuries on their feet during soccer matches most of which often affect the toenails directly. Bloody toenails are the most common among all toenail injuries in soccer.

Bloody toenails may be painful but not nearly as painful as when your toenail forcefully pulls away from the nail bed.

Bloody toenails develop when the blood vessels located under the toenails burst due to external pressure. This causes blood clots under the nail which eventually causes the affected nail to fall off.

In soccer, this injury is often referred to as runner’s toe, black toenail, or tennis toe—although the accurate medical term is Subungual Hematoma. Soccer players often get mistakenly stamped on the feet by other players, especially during a heated contest.

How to Prevent & Treat Black Toenail | Foot Care

Apart from the aforementioned reason, bloody toenail injuries can also occur by wearing under-size soccer shoes or mistakenly kicking the turf or goalpost instead of kicking the soccer ball. Due to the size of the big toe, it is more vulnerable to injuries above other toenails.

Aside from feeling slight pains on the toes, another obvious sign of bloody toenail injury is a visibly dark blue, red, and black coloration underneath the toenail.

Visiting a physician might be the best remedy for bloody toenails. Physicians often drill small holes on the nail to enable the blood to escape from the nail before it dries up.

a bloody toenail in need of treatment

Easy ways to prevent a bloody toenail

  • Always buy and wear well-fitting soccer shoes
  • Select original shoes that wouldn’t damage easily while playing soccer
  • Make sure your toenails do not grow longer than your toes
  • Use the correct size of socks

Turf Toe

The name “Turf toe” may give you a false idea of what this injury is. It is not only common among soccer players playing on synthetic turfs, rather, it is also very popular among dancers, wrestlers, basketballers, and gymnasts.

Turf toe occurs when you sustain a sprain across the tendons on your big toe’s joint due to constant jamming of the big toe while performing rigorous activities like jumping and running.

The indicators of a turf toe injury may include restricted joint movement at the big toe’s base, swelling, and sharp pains while walking.

Slippery, jagged, or bumpy soccer pitches can increase a player’s chances of getting a turf toe during a soccer match. Getting stepped on during training or a soccer match can also cause turf toe injuries.

Treating a turf toe as soon as it is detected can help prevent further injuries. Sometimes swelling starts 24 hours after sustaining a turf toe injury and the pain also becomes worse.

Turf Toe Injury BEST Treatment! [Causes, Symptoms & 3 Grades]

Playing soccer with a turf toe injury can lead to a bloody toenail because of the swelling and restricted movement of the big toe inside soccer shoes.

You can minimize further injuries by binding the big toenail while playing and also channeling the body weight to the unaffected foot when walking or running.

Surgery should be the last solution to consider after getting a turf toe because it can limit movement on the feet and reduce your average speed even after it has properly healed.

Before starting a turf toe treatment, you should consider getting x-rayed to know the actual extent of the injury. Although it is really hard to avoid such injuries as a soccer player, there are a few ways you can secure yourself from a turf toe injury while playing soccer.

How to Treat Turf Toe

Easy ways to avoid turf toe injuries

  • Remember to gently stretch your toes always before wearing soccer shoes
  • Avoid playing soccer on rough fields
  • Normalize practicing balancing exercises during training and gym sessions

Toenail fungus

This infection may look terrifying and gross to most soccer players but we believe knowing about it will help you avoid or manage it better—if you already have it.

Toenail fungus isn’t too common among professional soccer players probably because it is a hygiene-related infection.

Toenail fungus usually infects the toenails when our feet come in contact with contaminated surfaces such as soccer shoes, flip flops, socks, shower floors, and other dirty surfaces.

It usually starts as a yellow or white spot beneath the toenail and then grows larger and deeper until it eventually destroys the toenail. It initially causes the toenails to become stiff, discolored, and out of shape.

An example of Toenail fungus

Toenail fungus is easier to prevent than manage as a soccer player because it spreads fast and does a lot of damage in no time.

Successfully treated toenail fungus often resurfaces after a couple of years and can also infect the skin around an infected toenail which can cause your toes to bleed when you play soccer.

Toenail fungus can also infect fingernails, some of its common symptoms include a dark coloration under the nails, decaying nails, thickened nails, and foul toe smell.

It is more common in elderly persons than other age groups because elderly people have rough and cracked nails which can allow fungi to easily penetrate. Reduced immunity and blood flow to the feet can increase your chances of getting infected.

You can play soccer with a toenail fungus infection if you can withstand the pains and injuries it will cause you—although this is not advisable.

How to get rid and prevent toenail fungus?

Easy ways to avert toenail fungus infection

  • Wash and moisturize your feet and toenails regularly
  • Trim and smoothen the nail’s edges more often
  • Wash and disinfect your set of nail care equipment after every use
  • Use clean sweat-absorbent socks and breathable shoes, avoid sharing them with anybody
  • Don’t walk around barefooted in public places

Ingrown toenails 

You can prevent ingrown toenails from manifesting by trimming your toenails regularly. When regular pressure is exerted on the nails by actions such as jumping and sprinting while playing soccer, the nails tend to start growing downwards in the direction of the toe pad.

Experts call this defect Onychogryphosis. Aside from being very uncomfortable, it is also very painful. Soccer players suffering from an ingrown toenail may find it hard playing soccer since the game requires a random change of direction, swift movements, rapid acceleration, and regular ball kicks.

Besides visiting a podiatrist, you can also treat your ingrown toenails with warm soapy, or saltwater solutions. After soaking them on either of both solutions, clean the feet properly and apply antiseptic ointments after which you bandage the toenail.


Easy ways to preventing an ingrown toenail

  • Trim your toenails horizontally and remain little extensions above the toepad
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes
  • Walk in a way that doesn’t put unnecessary pressure on the toes
  • Wear well-fitting soccer shoes
  • Avoid artificial nail extensions

Nail Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a long-term incurable skin disease that causes scaly red and itchy patches mostly on the scalp, knees, trunk, and elbow. Even though psoriasis is mostly a skin infection, it can affect the nails, symptoms can be different among different people.

When psoriasis attacks the nails, it causes discoloration, thickening, skin buildup under the nail, pitting, and abnormal nail growth. In very serious cases, it can damage the nails and force them to detach from the nail bed.

Psoriasis can look similar to toenail fungus although they affect the nails differently. You can visit a doctor for a selection of effective treatments ranging from medications to phototherapy and complete nail extraction.

How to improve nail psoriasis

Easy ways to avoid nail psoriasis

  • Stop removing extra skin under your toenail using edgy objects
  • Wash and sterilize nail care equipment after use
  • Stop heavy alcohol intake
  • Avoid extremely dry and extremely cold weather conditions


Toenail injuries or detachment might make playing soccer difficult and risky. Nevertheless, it isn’t bad enough to stop you completely from playing soccer. Rapid response to nail injuries or infections will guarantee a faster healing process.

Simple foot care routines like wearing the right-sized soccer shoes, washing and moisturizing the feet always, cutting your toenails to the right level, and regular visits to the podiatrist can help your toenails immensely.