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Bloodbath of a Run

So last Friday night I took off for a ten miler and got in 8 miles before it was pretty dark. I don’t like running in the dark so I cut it short. The run was a great idea, the weather was perfect and the sun was just setting and then one mile in, I felt it. I know my toes bleed when I run. I start to feel it get gushy. Squish, squish, and I knew my toes were going to bleed. Oddly enough it doesn’t hurt at all, just kind of feels weird. I continued on and got in a great run but then I looked down at mile 6 and saw that the blood had started to leak through my shoe. THROUGH MY SHOE. There was nothing I could do but run the two more miles home, and it still wasn’t hurting, but when I got home I was pretty grossed out and then I realized my pink Nikes’ were also horrible looking now. You see, usually, the toe just bleeds a little bit. I have so many socks with little pink spots on them. That’s totally okay. So these pictures might be a little too intense for some of you. If so, click away NOW! That being said, you’ve probably already seen them since the posts pops up. MEH!

Normally this is how much my toe bleeds. It isn’t the best but it’s not the worst, but it’s manageable. Friday after my eight miler this was what I saw as I stared down at my shoes while crossing the street.

MY SHOES!!!!!!! MY TOES!!!!!!!!!!! AH!!!!!!!! Okay, so let’s discuss a few things before you all ask me questions about my shoes. I LOVE the Vomeros and have run in these shoes for about 8 months. I had problems with bloody toes in the Pegasus, which was what I was wearing before I switched to the Vomeros, and never had any problems like this before in the Vomeros, but now,  THIS much blood seems unhealthy! Especially with the fact that my shoes have about 50 miles left on them and they look horrific. So I inspected my toe like normal. There is a VERY, VERY tiny little pin prick of a cut on my toe. To release this amount of blood to me is odd though. That is a LOT of blood. Still my toes do not hurt, and I’ve tried baby powder, gold bond, Vaseline, body glide, taping, wright socks and injini socks. My shoes are already a size and a half bigger than what I should be wearing and I don’t have black toenails or any blisters. Explain that to me!

There is one word for this, and that word is one of my favorite words.


I know this is pretty much the most bizarre thing ever, but thankfully it doesn’t hurt, it just looks horrible and feels weird. So I will continue on bloody toes and all, but if anyone has any other recommendations of something I can do that I haven’t already tried, I am totally up for suggestions. Last night I got in a decent 7 miler before it got dark and my toe only bleed like the first picture. So it’s touch and go as of right now. Better get it’s game face on for Sunday though!

Also, I posted another new article about getting ready for race day on my Examiner site! Be sure to creep over there and check it out and I even included a slide show of pictures of how I get ready the night before a race. Enjoy! Please let me know if you have any suggestions for articles for the Examiner or any questions or comments regarding my articles I’m posting on that site.


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  • Reply Julie @ Wearing Mascara

    Oh my gosh!

    Luckily, this hasn’t happened to me yet (knock on wood) so I have no advice. Have you tried seeing a doctor about it? Maybe someone who specializes in feet/exercise?

    February 3, 2010 at 7:45 am
  • Reply Jenn

    I remember seeing that pic on Twitter and thinking that your toe must really hurt. I’m glad to hear that’s not the case. I’ve haven’t experienced any toe problems (yet) with my running, so I don’t have any suggestions for ya. But I hope someone can help!!!

    February 3, 2010 at 7:48 am
  • Reply j

    That is so weird! I (knock on wood) have never had toe or toenail issues and I would definitely freak if I saw that much blood.

    February 3, 2010 at 7:48 am
  • Reply Anna

    *Note to Danica* For your next shoe get one that would look good with a red accent you don’t want this toe to cause you to clash…then again with V-day just around the corner the red and pink combo is very fitting!

    February 3, 2010 at 7:52 am
  • Reply Laura Georgina

    If I saw my toe bleed that much I would faint. You are seriously hardcore, girl!

    February 3, 2010 at 7:55 am
  • Reply Spamboy

    Seems like the trend is Nike shoes — what about a different brand?

    February 3, 2010 at 7:55 am
  • Reply Leiane

    (in my ER nurse voice) this is not normal. How did you get a cut inside your shoe? If the cut was tiny, it was more blood than you would expect because you are circulating a lot of blood through your body with and increased heart rate…
    I would be more concerned with the SOURCE of the injury. Your feet should NOT bleed…ever :o)

    February 3, 2010 at 7:56 am
  • Reply Jocelyn

    Ew. So weird that your feet bleed! Hope you can figure it out! I never have heard of this happening before :(

    February 3, 2010 at 8:00 am
  • Reply Runeatrepeat

    Since it happens all the time we should think of a name for it though, like “toe flow” or something.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:01 am
  • Reply J

    That does seem like a lot of blood…so weird. I have noticed that with socks and stuff even a little blood can look like a lot…must be something about the sock material and such.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:02 am
  • Reply Chrissy

    When I first started increasing my mileage, I was wearing too-small shoes and lost about 8 of my 10 toenails. They have since grown back, but some of them are really weird looking and misshapen. It’s not painful at all, and hasn’t affected my running, but I no longer wear open-toed shoes. Sigh.

    Hope you figure this out soon!

    February 3, 2010 at 8:06 am
  • Reply Alex

    Dude that is crazy. I don’t know how you can stand that. Funny that it doesn’t hurt at all.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:07 am
  • Reply Ron

    See a doctor seriously, that should not happen ever. you feet shouldn’t bleed like that for no reason.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:13 am
  • Reply Morgan

    I still can not get over the fact that your toes just randomly bleed but you feel no pain! LMAO! That is just craziness! I hope you figure something out stat… that just ain’t right!

    February 3, 2010 at 8:16 am
  • Reply kristen

    I find that just a tiny prick on my toe (usually from a sharp toenail) can produce more blood than I ever thought possible. I even took a picture on my phone and sent it to my sister once :P

    It happened to me last night for the first time in a LONG time and while it didn’t hurt, I was definitely able to find the source of the injury (a sharp corner on a toenail). I was only going 4 miles so it didn’t bleed as much as yours, but had I been going 8, it might have gotten uglier.

    My theory is that there is more blood flow to your feet when you’re running, so there’s more blood to escape from that tiny prick. Plus, you’re moving your feet a lot, so it rubs everywhere as well.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:21 am
  • Reply Diddy

    Hi! The bloody toes are gruesome, holy heck! I’ve just gotten into running and I just want to let you know you’re my biggest running inspiration! I like read your entire blog when I first found it. <3

    February 3, 2010 at 8:29 am
  • Reply tamara

    My socks used to look like that a lot!! One time I took off my shoes and was walking around(luckily it was on tile) and I noticed all these bloody foot prints. I couldn’t figure mine out either cause I didn’t have any pain or anything, but then I finally realized my toenail on the toe next to the toe that was bleeding was rubbing the other toe and basically cutting it the whole time i was running! Now I file that toe nail edge nice and round and it hasn’t been happening.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:49 am
  • Reply kristen

    oh no. Not the blood filled shoe again! What is up with that? SO weird.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:51 am
  • Reply Marlene

    This is so completely bizarre! I’m amazed that your toes don’t hurt when this is going on. Poor Vomeros!

    February 3, 2010 at 8:59 am
  • Reply Carla

    I had to minimize the window so I could read the post without looking at the pictures.

    Then I could only read a couple of comments before I started getting dizzy.

    I’m a wimp.

    February 3, 2010 at 9:10 am
  • Reply Heather

    I wear nike vomeros, and love them! I have had a bloody toe before, but it was from the corner of another toenail running on another toe, and I did bleed some, but not THAT much! that’s crazy! could your shoes be TOO big and they are sliding around too much?

    February 3, 2010 at 9:15 am
  • Reply jeri

    Hands, feet, and head will always produce the most blood when you have a cut. And especially b/c you were running, your blood was pumping extra hard, hence a poop-ton of blood. So sad they bloodied up your cute shoes though.

    February 3, 2010 at 9:49 am
  • Reply Jessica

    I had this happen to me when one of my toenails made a small cut in the toe next to it. My shoe was bloody, my sock was soaked. I thought I would see a missing toe or something when I took my sock off and it was just a tiny cut!

    February 3, 2010 at 9:50 am
  • Reply Alisa

    Yikes! Well at least it doesn’t hurt! I have blood stains on my favorite pair of running socks from marathon #2 but that blood blister hurt like a mo-fo. Glad yours doesn’t hurt.

    I’ll be reading your examiner post shortly—so cool that you write for a magazine/newspaper!!!

    February 3, 2010 at 10:22 am
  • Reply David

    just left a comment on your Examiner post–hope it’s okay! i just wish someone had told me those tips before my first big race ‘back in the day’ :) good luck this weekend on a sub-1:46!

    February 3, 2010 at 10:23 am
  • Reply liane

    Ok, I am not a medical professional, so I have no idea why there is so much blood, other than the fact that it doesn’t seem normal. Although, I think I already twittered that my friend has the bloody toe thing going on as well. It doesn’t happen all the time, but she’s had it happen on a handful of occasions.

    But then normal in running life is clearly different than normal in non-running circles.

    I say this because I have three black toenails from my half training, and that doesn’t seem odd to me.

    February 3, 2010 at 11:05 am
  • Reply x-country2

    Whoa! That is strange. And gross. :o) Good luck finding a cure.

    February 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    Have you tried a different shoe? Maybe a shoe with a bigger toe box-Asics seems to have big toe boxes.

    February 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm
  • Reply luce

    i ran in the vomeros for a while but i switched to asics after i suffered some pretty nasty blisters.

    good luck in the race sunday!
    im running too!
    hope it doesn’t rain…

    February 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm
  • Reply rachel

    Do you take a lot of ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories? i know that i tend to both bleed and bruise much more if i’ve been taking advil even a few times in the week before a minor injury like this.

    February 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Kelly

    You should write a song about your bloody sock. Kinda like “smelly cat oh smelly cat.” But in this case it would be “Bloody sock oh bloody sock.”

    Obviously someone needs some caffeine or she is delirious from too much. You’ll never know.

    February 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm
  • Reply KatieA.

    HOLY CANOLI! Wow, that is awful! I was going to suggest bigger shoes, but you’ve already tried that :( I love all my Nike’s – I wear both you have a also another one, can’t remember the name. Good luck girly!
    Off to click away!!! :)

    February 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm
  • Reply Amy

    I agree with the naming of this epidemic….. it’s like a running stigmata!

    February 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm
  • Reply Andrea


    All I have to say is you are one hard core runner. Incredible drive. LOVE IT.

    February 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm
  • Reply Madison

    I have to admit that I am grossed out by those photos! I cannot believe that this happens to you often!! I think I would freak out. Have you tried wearing another brand of shoes..maybe something with a more wide toe area? I know that I cannot wear Nike’s because they tend to run narrow in the toe area. I’ve actually never wore Nike shoes before but I love their clothes! Have you gone to see a podiatrist yet?

    On another note. Good luck on Sunday. I’ll be out there as well. I hope the weather is good that day!

    February 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply Robyn

    Ouch! I sorta lost my toe nail from running in shoes too small and I feel like it’s never going to grow back normally again.

    February 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply joerunfordom

    Danica – I’m late to the party so there is a lot of great information above – the comments about your circulation working extra hard to push blood to your extremities (toes, fingers) with that increased heartrate is where all that blood is coming from …. but the source of the issue is that toe box. Gotta be.

    Sounds like your shoes being oversized (I wear 1/2 size larger) could be causing issues as you may be sliding forward on your groundstrike a bit more than normal and that area just doesn’t get enough time to fully repair itself — so the “toe-flow” as it was named above returns.

    I think you may want to actually try a pair of Asics as suggested. It’s a tough recommendation as what is the right shoe for one runner absolutely is not for the next – but the Gel Nimbus Asics are my choice primarily for that larger toe box. Since switching over to them I don’t have blister issues, black toe nails etc. – they really do provide a lot of room up front in a cushioning shoe.

    So sorry to hear of your struggles with this Danica – let me know if you want to continue this dialoge later.

    Best from Austin,


    February 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm
  • Reply Elisabeth

    I have bled through my shoes like that on every one of my marathons! I can totally relate. It doesn’t hurt and usually isn’t a big wound. I have been trying bigger shoes to limit the bloodiness and it has helped some (they still blister a bit). I have moved up sizes twice, and have my first marathon in about 10 days so I will let you know if I see a difference. Good luck!

    February 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm
  • Reply AK

    Nikes make very narrow shoes. You need something with a wider toe box. Try Asics. I had the same issues until I switched.

    February 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm
  • Reply Colleen

    Wow, I’m so glad it at least doesn’t hurt! I hope it’s better for Sunday and that you have a great race!

    February 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Oh my gosh!! So glad this didnt hurt you, but it would have scared me!! Have you gone to the doctors for this? It seems strange if the shoe fits, there are not blisters etc.

    Heal fast!! :)

    February 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply Mike

    Wow, those are some cool looking shoes.

    I recently cut open one toe and was shocked at how well it bled. Nothing quite so heroic, but still impressive.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm
  • Reply Caitlin

    Ah! That’s crazy. I just started running last May and by that fall, I noticed both of my big toes were black and blue. Dark nail polish for me! I love your blog.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    ur poor poor toe. i’m sorry your pink beauties are ruined. i hope you get lots of helpful comments… i have none… love you though!

    February 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm
  • Reply healthy ashley

    Omg, OWWWWW!!!! That looks terrible!!! You are so tough for running through that!

    February 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm
  • Reply Niki

    Oww! Glad it’s not painful. Looks to me like it could be the toenail next to the bloody toe ever so slightly cutting into it as you run. I don’t think it is your shoes since you’ve been running in them awhile and haven’t had any major issues. I wear vomeros too and really like them. Just switched from asics! Good luck on figuring it out!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm
  • Reply ida

    It might be from a toe nail on another toe? that’s happened to me before. since the nail keeps digging during the entire run the little cut never stops bleeding and looks way worse than it is. Maybe try trimming your nails differently

    February 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm
  • Reply Jeff

    Its not your shoes, its your socks. Look at how the toe of your sock is bunched up. you can see the line under your toes where the bunching is occuring. I think thats causing the rubbing on your toe inside your Nike. Try a fitted running sock. is a good place to start

    February 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm
  • Reply Rebecca

    I have no suggestions…sorry :( I’m still kind of new to serious running and other than some pain in my toes, I’ve not had any major toe trauma…yet! I’m kind of hoping for a black toenail one of these days!

    February 4, 2010 at 7:13 am
  • Reply Brown Eyed Girl

    Ouch that is a lot of blood! How strange that it doesnt hurt either?? I would probably have panicked if I would have seen that much red on my shoe!

    P.S. Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog :) And I love that you noticed the Coors Light sitting on the counter!! Hilarious!

    February 4, 2010 at 7:49 am
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