Nail Care for Every Sport

Nails may be small, but they can wreak havoc on your ability to play sports if they’re not treated well.

Certain sports invite injuries when it comes to nails. For instance, hiking and running cause overuse problems, whereas tennis and basketball invite injury from jarring, quick movements and pivots. To prevent or repair many of the following issues, get regular pedicures and foot massages, and keep the nails cut short. Below is a list of lesser-known tips and tricks for when you’re in between salon visits.

Common Conditions for . . .

Runners: Toe-bed injuries, ingrown nails, blisters, bunions and calluses, or onychoptosis (when a nail falls off).

Tennis and basketball players: Tennis toe is a common name for the pooling of blood under the toenail, or a subungual hematoma. Usually the condition is the result of a tight toe box and too much contact between the toe and shoe. It can also occur during other sports that require quick spurts of sprinting and stopping.

Swimmers: Being submerged in chlorinated water for extended periods of time can quickly cause dry, cracked and brittle nails. Cracked nails can easily lead to splitting and infection.


Nail Tips for Any Sport:

Best shape: Keep your nails (on hands and feet) cut short and straight across on top. Oval or pointed shapes lack structure and are more prone to injury. If you go to a salon, request sport-length nails.

Best fakes: If you want the beauty benefits of artificial nails, opt for gels over acrylics and keep them short. Gels tend to be more flexible and durable.

Best file: If you’re extra hard on your nails, swap your emery board for a crystal nail file, which has proved to prevent chipping and peeling. This tool is also easily disinfected and kept clean.

Best practice:
Like your hair and skin, your nails benefit immensely from proper and consistent hydration. There are moisturizers specifically for nails, but you can also just give them a little extra TLC with your daily hand or face lotion.

Best lesser-known tool: Counteract the stress of activity with the gentleness of a nailbrush. If your nails get dirty, swap a sharp file for the softer option.

Best first aid: To avoid unnecessary infection or inflammation, use an antibacterial ointment for any cuts or tears. Don’t wait; immediately clean the wound and cover with a Band-Aid.

Best bits of advice: Don’t bite your nails, don’t push back or cut your cuticles, and don’t pull hangnails.

To book a sport manicure, pedicure or massage, email

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