What is an Ingrown Toenail and How to Prevent It

Posted by Dr. Brian Nagy on March 1, 2017

 

trimming an ingrown toenailIf you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you already know you want to prevent it from happening again. Although it's sometimes hard to see, the pain it can cause is easily felt. If you’re wondering if you do in fact have an ingrown toenail you’re in the right place to find out.

An ingrown toenail is a common cause of foot and toe pain that usually occurs on the big toe, but other toes can be affected too. It can be prevented with basic foot hygiene and a nail trimming technique, and is easily treatable too. There’s even a 15-minute fix if it keeps coming back.

The main cause of an ingrown toenail is trimming your toenail incorrectly. Your toenails should be trimmed straight across, not in a curve – otherwise it causes the nail to grow into the nail bed. Not only can this be extremely painful, it can also lead to infection.

Common symptoms:

  • Discomfort and tenderness along the side of your toe
  • Minimal to moderate pain
  • Pain with pressure applied
  • Soreness and redness
  • Infection

Moderate to Severe Symptoms:

  • Severe, disabling pain (with and without pressure)
  • Even the slightest touch hurts
  • Redness or swelling around your toe
  • Skin around the toenail is warm to the touch
  • Oozing pus, which is a definite sign of infection

How to Prevent an Ingrown Toenail

If you could avoid having an ingrown toenail in the first place – or could keep one from coming back, would you? Of course you would and there are some simple, daily tasks you can do to prevent an ingrown toenail.

Wear shoes that fit

Shoes that are too small and put added pressure on the toenail can easily cause them to become ingrown. Instead, make sure you’re wearing roomier shoes with plenty of space in the toe box so that your toes don’t squish together.

Trim your nails correctly

Use toenail clippers to trim your toenails straight across so there are no rounded corners. This will help to direct your nails to grow straight out instead of sideways into the skin. Ideally, keep your toenails at a moderate length, trimming them every 2 to 3 weeks.

Maintain good foot hygiene

General footcare and checking your feet daily can help detect any initial signs of an ingrown toenail. This includes keeping your feet clean and dry, your toenails trimmed and cut straight across, and not ignoring anything causing your feet to hurt.

How to Keep an Ingrown Toenail from Getting Worse

If an ingrown toenail is left untreated then you risk it getting infected and possibly needing ingrown toenail surgery. First, try simple treatment options that can keep an ingrown toenail from getting worse.

Don’t ignore it

This is probably the most important. Don’t consider your ingrown toenail to just be an annoyance that will correct itself on its own. Recognize that you have an ingrown toenail and catch it early on to avoid infection.

Soak your foot

Try soaking your toe in warm, soapy water at least once a day or in water with Epsom salts.

Avoid wearing improperly fitting shoes

Shoes and socks that are too tight can cause the ingrown toenail to get worse because of the added pressure being put on the toenail.

Visit a podiatrist

If your ingrown toenail is at the point where it's red, swollen, possibly oozing pus, and extremely painful, then it’s already infected. In this case, you’ll want to see a New Hampshire podiatrist to be prescribed an antibiotic and be evaluated for surgery.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery

If you’ve tried to treat your ingrown toenail at home, but symptoms become worse or the ingrown toenail keeps coming back, it’s time to see a New Hampshire podiatrist. In some cases, when symptoms are severe, ingrown toenail surgery is required.

At Nagy Footcare the procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic, cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail, and cauterizing the root of the nail where it was causing a chronic ingrown toenail.

If surgery is required,  Dr. Nagy will have you in and out of surgery in 15 minutes and you’ll be walking within minutes. No stitches required! And the good news is, this surgery is a permanent solution for a chronic ingrown toenail.

Find a Solution to your Ingrown Toenail- Download your free resource

Your feet are the foundation of your body and you deserve a healthy foundation that is free of pain! At Nagy Footcare, our best day is the day you wake up with no foot pain. If you want a quick 15-minute ingrown toenail treatment that’s effective and permanent, we put your feet first and we’d love to treat you.

Topics: Ingrown Toenails

We are committed to providing educational information because, at Nagy Footcare, our best day is the day you wake up with no foot pain.

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