An ingrown toenail occurs when the corner of the nail starts growing into soft flesh. Ingrown toenails usually affect the big toe. They can cause redness, swelling, pain, and ultimately infection. If you’re diabetic or have another condition that impedes circulation to the foot, ingrown toenails can be especially serious. Untreated, they can even result in amputations. Of course, you don’t want to let your condition get that far. It’s far better to avoid an ingrown toenail than to suffer the pain of having one. These suggestions can help you protect your toes.
Wear A Shoe That Fits
Shoes that are too tight and shoes that are too loose can both encourage toenails to grow into the skin. If you’re used to buying shoes in the bargain basement, treat yourself to a visit to a nice shoe store. Let the associate measure your feet and direct you to the shoes that fit exactly as they should. Not only will this help you avoid the problem of ingrown toenails, you may be surprised to find that your feet and legs hurt less and that you have more energy throughout the day!
Trim Nails Properly
According to the Mayo Clinic, the best way to prevent ingrown nails is to trim your toenails straight across instead of curving them so that they follow the contour of your toe. Also, keep your nails at a moderate length, about even with the tips of your toes. If you enjoy going for a mani/pedi, make sure the person who does your pedicure follows these guidelines. It’s better to look a little less fashionable now than to suffer a lot of pain later.
Use Protective Footwear
One risk factor for ingrown toenails is suffering a crushing injury to the foot. If you work or play in a high-risk environment where your toe is likely to suffer injury, wear steel-toed boots or other protective gear to cushion yourself.
Check on the health of your toes at least a few times a week. If you’re a diabetic, you should check your toenails daily. Pay special attention to areas that are red, hot, or swollen or to areas where it looks like a toenail is growing wrong. If you catch a problem soon enough, you may be able to fix it at home by soaking your feet in hot water and putting dental floss or cotton under your toenail to encourage it to grow correctly.
Get Help When Needed
Dr Ian Russell, a doctor at a Calgary foot clinic suggests if your toenail is infected, or if you have a condition like diabetes that makes you vulnerable to problems with the feet, don’t hesitate to see a podiatrist. If it’s an emergency, he or she should be able to squeeze you in right away.
An ingrown toenail may not sound like much, but it’s nothing to play around with. It causes pain, which is bad enough, but it can also develop an infection that will keep you off your feet for days. It’s far better to avoid the situation now than it is to treat it later.