Ingrown toenails are a common condition where one or both sides of the toenail cut into the flesh of the toe.
If you have swelling, redness, infection, or pain at the side of your toe where your nail meets the flesh, it’s probably an ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails can be caused by:
- improperly cutting your nails,
- squishing them into shoes that don’t fit properly,
- injuring your toenail or
- the natural shape of your nails.
How to avoid ingrown toenails
Don’t cut your toenails too short and don’t cut the corners off.
When you cut your toenails, cut them straight across. If you have sharps edges or corners after trimming your nails, file them slightly to smooth them down.
If you can’t seem to cut your nails properly, and are getting ingrown toenails as a result, consider not cutting them at all. Instead, try filing them down regularly to keep them under control.
Don’t wear shoes that are too short or too narrow. Wear shoes that fit!
If your toes are pinched together or stuffed up against the end of the shoe, you will encourage ingrown toenails every time you wear them.
When trying on a new pair of shoes, make sure there is a little space between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Also, make sure you can wiggle your toes and that they don’t feel like they are pressing into each other.
If you break your toenail or injure your toe somehow, you might find that you develop an ingrown toenail afterward. See a chiropodist for an assessment. They can not only treat your ingrown toenail, but also the injury to your toe or foot that caused the broken and ingrown toenail in the first place.
If you seem to get ingrown toenails often no matter what you do, it might be because your toenails curve inward too much.
Don’t try any home surgery! You might think the solution to an ingrown toenail is to cut out the corner and side of your nail, but this only leads to more pain and a higher risk of infection.
If you think the shape of your toenail is to blame for your ingrown toenails, don’t try to reshape them yourself.
See a chiropodist. They can prescribe the best course of treatment. If minor surgery is required, let your chiropodist deal with it!
If you have an ingrown toenail, don’t keep walking around in pain. The longer you wait, the more you suffer and the worse an infection will get.
If you have diabetes or any vascular problems, it is vital that you seek and receive the right treatment right away. Any infection which is not quickly and effectively treated and monitored could lead to a foot ulcer or even to loss of limb.
If you currently have an ingrown toenail or if this is a frequent problem for you, call Step by Step Professional Family Foot Care and book an appointment. We can help!