Toenails look fairly harmless, but they can cause extreme pain if they become ingrown. Ingrown nails can be so painful that it's difficult to wear shoes or walk comfortably. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent them. Family Foot and Ankle Center, your podiatrists in Reston, Fairfax, Ashburn and Mclean, share some important information on ingrown toenail prevention.
What are ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a nail grows into the skin surrounding it. They often occur on big toes, but can happen on any of your toenails. If the nail continues to grow into the skin, pain, redness and infection can occur.
What causes the problem?
Ingrown toenails can occur due to the following reasons:
- Wearing shoes that are too tight
- Cutting toenails too short or not cutting them in a straight line
- Nail injuries
- Fungal infections that thicken toenails
- A family history of ingrown toenails (Curved toenails tend to run in some families.)
How can I prevent ingrown toenails?
Clipping toenails in a straight line is the most important step you can take to prevent ingrown toenail pain. When you round the corners of the nails, it's much easier for them to grow into your skin. It's also important to wear comfortable shoes, treat toenail fungus as soon as you notice it, and examine your feet every day for signs of ingrown nails. If you find any problems, call your Reston, Fairfax, Ashburn and Mclean podiatrists right away!
What do I do if I have an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails can be treated at home in the early stages. If you notice that your toenail has started to grow into your skin, use a nail file to gently pry the nail free. Soak your foot in warm water for 15 minutes to reduce swelling, then place a small piece of cotton under the nail. The cotton will prevent the nail from growing into the skin again.
It's also a good idea to apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. See a foot doctor if the nail is too deeply embedded and you can't remove the edge yourself or you have severe pain or signs of an infection.
Do you have an ingrown toenail or any other foot ailment? Call the Reston, Fairfax, Ashburn and Mclean Podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center at (703) 723-2719 and schedule an appointment today. Don't let an ingrown toenail keep you off your feet!