If you’ve had ingrown toenails, you know how annoying the pain can be. Wearing certain shoes and walking can be uncomfortable and cause tenderness in the toes and feet. In some cases, bacteria can enter the break in the skin, leading to an infection. Therefore, it is important to take preventative measures and manage your ingrown toenails properly to maintain healthy feet. If you are concerned about an ingrown toenail problem or if you have an infection, contact Dr. Carl Ingrassia in Fords, NJ. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails, which are also known as onychocryptosis, usually occur on the big toes. However, all toes can be subject to external pressure or natural growth patterns that causes the edge of the toenail to grow into the skin around it. When the toenail breaks the skin, it can lead to pain, redness, inflammation, and bacterial infection.
Here are some tips to help you prevent ingrown toenails:
- Trim your toenails in a straight line and make sure they are not cut too short. When the toenails are cut very short, toenails can grow into the skin. Rounded cuts can allow for the edges of the toenails to dig down on the sides and into the skin.
- Wear shoes that fit your feet properly. Shoes that are too tight or small will cause pressure on your toenails to grow flat or downward into the skin.
- Take care of toe injuries right away. A split or broken toenail can lead to misdirected growth, while long-term swelling of the injured toe can cause the nail to grow into the swollen areas around the toenail.
- Treat fungal infections. Fungus-thickened nails can also allow for the toenail to breach the skin.
Treatment and Pain Management Tips
If your ingrown toenails are not infected, there are some ways to treat and manage the pain at home. (This is especially relevant for those who have a hereditary cause of ingrown toenails.)
- Soak your feet in warm Epsom water to reduce pain and swelling.
- If you catch it early and see that your toenail is starting to grow into your skin, try to pull back your skin and file the nail away from the skin. You can use a small, clean piece of cotton to prevent the skin from re-growing toward the toenail.
- Use an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
- Wear shoes that do not put pressure on your toes from the top, front, or sides. If weather permits, open-toed shoes or sandals would be your best bet.
- Put Band-Aids on the ingrown areas to provide a little more cushion when wearing shoes.
If the toenail has grown too deeply, you should not try to fix the problem yourself since there is an increased risk of infection or injury to your toes. Instead, come in and see our board-certified podiatrist if your ingrown toenail becomes infected or if pain worsens. Schedule an appointment online or call our office at 732-738-4441. Dr. Ingrassia will work with you to find the best treatment option using modern diagnostic tools and technology for your foot and ankle care needs.