mtneering wrote:IMHO don't ever open your integumentary system to infection. Even burning the needle or alcohol prep doesn't prevent long term chance of infection that can access your body through the open skin/nail. This applies to blisters also!
It is true, most intact blisters will heal better without opening them. The skin, hair, and nails (integument) are referred to as a primary defense mechanism when it comes to our immune system, and leaving these tissues intact is an absolutely valid objective. I have a hard time not picking away the dead skin after a blister has dried or started to peel, another mistake! Taping skin blisters (open or closed) with a thin medical adhesive tape provides the most effective therapy when it comes to protection (3M Micopore tape is a stellar performer!). However, when it comes to blood-blistered toenails with painful pressure buildup, definitely relieve the pressure! It offers instant gratification... definitely satisfies the scab-picking side of me. If you have a healthy immune system and exercise reasonable hygiene, the odds of infection are remote.
I've had my share of black and blue toenails over the years, both with running shoes, cycling shoes, and hiking boots. I advocate getting shoes with an extra roomy toebox. You got to try them on and learn by trial and error. It seems reasonable to assume a roomy toe box is good for everyones' feet even if they don't need the extra room.
A hiking boot with a generous toebox: http://www.backcountry.com/asolo-moran- ... erralID=NA
Trail running shoe " ": http://www.montrail.com/Men%27s-Mountai ... lt,pd.html