Toenails are pretty much worthless, yet the fact remains – we still have them. Now, just having nails on the tops of our toes isn’t necessarily a big deal…until they cause problems. Such is the case with ingrown toenails.
When a toenail becomes ingrown, it can cause discomfort and pain, and even increase your risk for infection. Of course, the good news is that this is a treatable condition. There are many cases which are successfully addressed at home. If you are unable to handle it on your own, Wisconsin Foot Center is here to help with our professional foot care services.
We can certainly provide treatment, but we prefer to know you are able to prevent an ingrown toenail from developing in the first place. (And we’re pretty sure you prefer that too!)
Before we look at preventative measures, it’s important to note that sometimes nails become ingrown simply on account of an inherited nail structure. Some nails have an unusual curve that causes them to grow into the skin flanking them. In other instances, though, the root cause of an ingrown toenail is usually preventable.
When it comes to taking steps to lower your risk of ingrown toenails, take the following steps:
- Trim your toenails correctly. Too often, improper nail trimming practices lead to a case of ingrown toenails. The biggest issues tend to be nails that are cut too short or are rounded off at the corners. As a general rule, try to keep your toenails roughly even with the edge of their corresponding toes. With regards to rounding off toenails, the most likely explanation for why people do this is because we usually round off our fingernails. Unfortunately, this can lead to an ingrown nail. Instead, clip them straight across.
- Protect your feet. Physical trauma is another common cause of ingrown toenails. This typically happens when someone drops a heavy object on his or her foot. If you know you are going to be handling or moving heavy things—like furniture at home or metal products at work—make sure you ask for help or wear steel-toed work boots or safety shoes.
- Wear properly-fitting shoes. It’s easy to overlook this, but the fit of your shoes plays a big role in the health of your feet. Wearing excessively-tight footwear can lead to an array of problems, including ingrown nails. Shoes that are tight in the front—the toe box area—crowd the toes together, which can force the nails to grow into the skin pressing against them. Always choose shoe models that feature wide, deep toe boxes. If your toes cannot wiggle freely, pick out another pair.
Unless you have an inherited nail structure that leads to ingrowing, these measures will reduce your risk of developing the condition. In the event you already have an ingrown toenail, or your nail is curved and the problem is unavoidable, you can find the care you need right here at Wisconsin Foot Center.
For more information about ingrown toenails or the other foot care services we provide—or to schedule an appointment with our Hales Corner office—give us a call at (414) 425-8400.