By Family Foot and Ankle Center
April 30, 2015
Category: Foot Care
How to Avoid Pesky Ingrown Toenails
An ingrown toenail is a common and painful condition of the toes that occurs when one or both sides of the nail break through and grow into the skin of the toe rather than over it. As a result, the irritated skin becomes painful, red and swollen. Fortunately, when detected early, an ingrown can generally be treated effectively from home. But when left untreated, an ingrown toenail is prone to infection as bacteria can enter the penetrated skin. Professional treatment from your podiatrist will be necessary to treat the infection.
Self-Care for Ingrown Toenails
Regardless of the cause, understanding how to care for an ingrown toenail can go a long way to prevent painful infections. In its earliest stage, an ingrown toenail can generally be cared for and successfully treated from home. For non-infected nails:
- Soak your foot in warm water several times a day to relieve swelling and soreness
- Wash and dry your foot to keep the affected area clean
- Wear comfortable footwear with a wide toe box, or sandals when weather permitting
- Avoid cutting the nail as this can make the condition worse
- Over-the-counter medications may temporarily ease the pain, but don’t heal the underlying problem
Conservative treatments won’t always be successful. When excessive swelling, pain or discharge is present, the toenail is most likely infected and should be treated by your podiatrist. If you have diabetes or nerve damage, avoid home treatment and see your podiatrist for safe and professional care.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails is Easy
With a few simple precautions, you can easily prevent ingrown toenails.
- Wear proper fitting shoes and socks that allow for adequate toe room
- Trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short
- Keep your feet clean and dry as this prevents bacteria-formation
Ingrown toenails are a very common condition of the toes. The key to avoiding ingrown toenails is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. For infected nails, visit us in Ashburn, Fairfax, Reston or McLean, VA for treatment, such as an oral antibiotic or a minor surgical procedure to stop the pain and remove the infection.