Here's How to Cut Your Toenails to Prevent an Ingrown Toenail

Here's How to Cut Your Toenails to Prevent an Ingrown Toenail

Though an ingrown toenail is a common occurrence and doesn’t appear to be a big deal, ingrown nails can make your life miserable in multiple ways. The toe can be so painful that it hurts to wear shoes or walk.

The bad news is: Ingrown toenails often recur. The good news: You can prevent them from recurring. 

At Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic, our expert podiatrist Sean Rosenblum, DPM, wants you to understand the factors that lead to an ingrown toenail and how to avoid them. If you already have one, though, we can alleviate the pain and reposition your nail at Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic in Lodi, New Jersey. 

What causes an ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail develops when the edge of your toenail grows into the flesh of your toe rather than lying flat on its nail bed. Usually, ingrown toenails develop on a big toe.

When the nail digs into your flesh, it can cause painful swelling. If you ignore the ingrown nail, the toenail can break the surface of your skin, which could allow infection to set in. Under normal circumstances, ingrown toenails are painful to deal with, but if you have a pre-existing medical issue, namely diabetes, these developments can be quite serious.

There are several risk factors for developing ingrown toenails, including:

You can’t control your genetics, but you can correct most of the other factors.

How to avoid an ingrown toenail

The best way to prevent an ingrown toenail is to cut your nails correctly. Don’t cut them too short or they could grow into your nail bed.

You absolutely must trim them straight across. Be sure to use a specialized toenail clipper with a straight, rather than curved, blade. A curved nail cutter increases your risk for an ingrown nail.

Also, be sure to wear shoes with sufficient room for your toes. For those factors that are beyond your ability to mitigate — especially the shape of your toenails or genetic predisposition — we offer solutions.

How to treat ingrown toenails

If this is the first time you’ve had an ingrown toenail, we generally recommend conservative treatment. You can start by soaking your toe in warm, soapy water to prevent infection. If it feels comfortable enough, you can trim away the piece of nail that’s digging into your flesh after your soak. Apply a topical antibiotic cream afterward.

If it’s too painful to trim your nail on your own, we urge you to come for treatment. Also, if you have diabetes, we don’t recommend that you try to remedy ingrown toenails on your own. At our office, we offer comprehensive diabetic foot care. We safeguard the health of your feet and treat problems early to avoid complications.

We use topical numbing agents and specialized tools to cut or lift away the offending piece of nail. During your visit, we also check for signs of infection. If your toe’s infected, we then take the appropriate steps to clear the infection.

If you chronically develop an ingrown toenail at the same site, we may recommend taking a more aggressive approach to the problem with a procedure called a partial nail plate avulsion. During the avulsion, we numb your toe with a local anesthetic and then remove the part of your nail that keeps causing problems. 

Don’t ignore an ingrown toenail or try to treat it yourself if it’s infected or recurs frequently. Contact us with our online form or by phone at 973-659-4099 for an ingrown toenail consultation and hammertoe treatment today. 

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