Ingrown toenails are incredibly common, and all too often, they become infected and require treatment and removal by a qualified podiatrist. At Passaic Foot and Ankle, Dr. Sean Rosenblum helps patients with ingrown toenails regularly, right in the office. But, even better than excellent treatment is avoiding the ingrown toenail.
What causes ingrown toenails?
There are lots of causes of ingrown toenails, from genetics — if everyone in your family gets ingrown toenails, you likely have a genetic predisposition for them — to poor grooming practices. An ingrown toenail can also be the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe.
In practical terms, ingrown toenails usually affect your big toe, and can be on the inside or outside. When your toenail is broken, cut too short, or curved, the edge can grow into the skin on the side of your toe. If it’s not treated, it can become infected, leading to substantial pain.
What can I do to avoid ingrown toenails?
If you get lots of ingrown toenails, you’re probably searching for ways to avoid them. They are annoying and painful and can keep you from doing the things you enjoy. Here are some tips to protect your toes!
Choose the right shoes
When your shoes are too narrow in the toe, or they fit too tightly, they can put pressure on your toes and pinch the skin on your toe around the nail, encouraging ingrown toenails. Make sure you can wiggle your toes easily in your shoes.
Trim your nails straight across
You want your nails to look neat, of course, but it’s extremely important to trim your toenails straight across and not curve them as you might your fingernails. When they curve, they have room to grow into your skin. Trim them straight across, with trimmers that aren’t curved, and file away the sharp edges.
Don’t go too short
It may be tempting to trim your nails nice and short so you don’t have to do it again for awhile, but that gives them room to grow into your skin. Keep them a moderate length, about even with the end of your toe.
Wearing shoes protects your toes from trauma such as stubbing. Wearing flip-flops or going barefooted leaves them vulnerable. Protect your toes!
Choose your nail salon carefully
If you choose to have pedicures, make sure that your nail technician is experienced, uses clean tools, and doesn’t trim your nails too short. A pedicure can be a lovely experience, but not if it results in a painful ingrown toenail.
Inspect your feet
Especially if you have diabetes or some other condition that can make your feet numb, be sure to visually inspect your feet regularly. If you have nerve damage, you may not realize you have an ingrown toenail until it becomes infected.
If you’re having ingrown toenails repeatedly, you may need specialized care. Dr. Rosenblum is happy to provide an assessment and suggest a treatment plan. Book an appointment conveniently using our online tool, or simply call our office and we’ll get you scheduled.