How to Decrease Your Risk For Developing Ingrown Toenails

If you’ve experienced an ingrown toenail, you know just how painful they can be. Your swollen and throbbing toe can cause excruciating pain when you put on your socks or shoes, and it can even hurt to walk. An ingrown toenail is a common cause of foot infections, too. For many people, however, ingrown toenails are entirely preventable. Read on to learn how ingrown toenails develop, and get some useful tips from Hoosier Foot & Ankle to prevent getting them.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of your nail grows into the skin that borders your nail bed. As the nail pierces the soft skin, you can develop redness, irritation, and swelling at the site. As the nail continues to grow, your pain can increase, and you may develop an infection. Any of your toes can get ingrown toenails, but your big toes are often the most affected.

What are the common causes of ingrown toenails?

There are several common reasons you may develop ingrown toenails. Most of these causes are preventable. They include:

You can’t always prevent ingrown toenails from occurring if your toenails are naturally curvy. However, there are orthotic devices that can help alleviate the risk of developing ingrown toenails.

What are the best ways to prevent ingrown toenails?

You can prevent getting ingrown toenails in most cases. Here are some ways to decrease your risk for developing ingrown toenails:

Trim toenails properly  

This is perhaps the easiest way to prevent your toenails from growing into your skin. Trim your toenails straight across and never round the edges. Furthermore, invest in a pair of toenail clippers. Toenail clippers are much wider than fingernail clippers, and they can give you a nice, even, trim.

Wear properly fitted shoes  

Make sure your shoes fit properly and provide enough room for you to move your toes around. Avoid extremely high heels and pointed toe shoes. If you run, power walk, or hike regularly, don’t skimp on good shoes. Make sure your toe box provides plenty of wiggle room.

Never wear tight socks

Your socks should be somewhat roomy. Socks that are tight in the toe area can contribute to ingrown toenails.

Practice good hygiene

Make sure your nails stay clean. This is essential in order to avoid infection in case an ingrown toenail develops. Treat yourself to a nice foot soak with some epsom salts and a few drops of lavender oil.

When is it time to see a doctor?

For a toe that is red, swollen, or warm to the touch, you should get prompt medical attention. This is especially true if you suffer from diabetes or a circulatory condition. The podiatric specialists at Hoosier Foot & Ankle will not only treat your ingrown toenail, they’ll also help you find ways to prevent future occurrences. We have six convenient locations in the greater Indianapolis area, and we are ready to help you live free from ingrown toenails.

To get relief from an ingrown toenail or to learn more about prevention, book an appointment online or over the phone with Hoosier Foot & Ankle today.

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