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Preventing ingrown toenails

A warm bath and proper nail trimming could help However, sometimes it’s better to consult a specialist in foot care promptly.

The medical term used to describe the condition that is painful is called onychocryptosis. It usually occurs in the big toe when the part of the toenail’s edge turns downwards and digs into the skin. It can cause redness, swelling, soreness and even warmth. If the nail breaks skin, bacteria can be introduced and result in an infection. In time, the skin could begin to develop over the damaged area of your nail.

There are a variety of things you can do yourself to cure an ingrown nail. If you suspect infection or if you suffer from blood circulation issues, diabetes or you feel numbness in your toes avoid home remedies and visit your doctor or a foot surgeon immediately.

Preventing ingrown toenails

Shoes with low heels provide enough space at the toes. You can also wear stockings with socks with moisture-wicking properties that allow your toes to move without restriction.
Make sure your feet are well-maintained and dry.
Utilize a nail clipper (not a fingernail clipper). If your toenails are particularly heavy, consider an instrument that is spring-loaded, referred to as toenail clippers.
Cut your toenails along the length of your foot, keeping along the curvature that the top of the foot follows (see illustration) Do not turn the corners downwards like you would use a fingernail (see inset). Also, don’t cut them too short. It should be possible to slide your fingernail through the nail’s end.

What can cause an ingrown toenail?

There are a variety of possibilities of causing the injury. Trauma is one of them. For example, you may stub your toe, or drop something onto it, or even step over it. The loss of the toenail, the repeated pressure of certain activities, fungal infections or psoriasis could be the cause. Toenails that are thick or curly (nails tend to be curlier as they age) are especially susceptible and some individuals are genetically inclined to develop problems with their nails. Unskillful nail trimming that is cutting nails too long around the corners could be a cause.

The chance of developing ingrown toenails can be increased when you wear shoes that are small, too narrow or are too long. As per the doctor Dr. James Ioli, Chief of Podiatry at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, women’s high heels can be the most frequent cause of problems: “Increased heel height transfers the bulk of your body’s weight towards the front of your foot. Big toes can be also subjected to pressure and forces that deform over the years due to the use of wearing high heels, particularly when they are worn regularly for a prolonged period of time. Even if there isn’t any issues right at the moment, you might have one.”

Maintain your home care simple

If the symptoms are mild (the toe is inflamed and red, but not infected or painful) and you don’t have a complication medical condition like diabetes, you may begin at home using gentle measures.

Soak your foot in warm water twice or three times per day for about 15 minutes (count showers as an opportunity to soak). You can also add Epsom salts, if you like but there’s no evidence to suggest that this improves the relief of pain or speed up healing. Massage the skin along the top of the nail (the fold of the nail) and gently push off from your nail. After every soak, you should dry your feet thoroughly. Use sandals or other low-heeled open-toed footwear whenever you can. If you are wearing closed-toed shoes be sure that your toebox (the part of the shoes that is on its front) provides enough room for your toes to move around freely. If your toenail is growing out, cut it in a way that resembles the curve of the toe’s tip Don’t turn the corners downwards.

Procedures in the office

If your toenail is affected or does not improve within three or five days after conservative treatment You should consult a podiatrist , or any other foot specialist or dermatologist. It is possible that you will need oral antibiotics to treat the infection. The doctor might have to cut off the part that has grown in the nail.

If you are experiencing frequent ingrown toenails then more extensive removal of the nail may be necessary. In a procedure commonly used known as a partial nail avulsion the narrow horizontal strip of nail on the side affected (see the illustration earlier) is cut from the edge of the nail to an area at the bottom of the nail and then removed. The doctor might also apply a substance known as an phenol solution to the matrix of nail (the subcutaneous area which produces cells for nail growth) to stop nail growth. This could leave the toenail somewhat narrower than before. The procedure is generally done in a doctor’s office after a local anesthetic has been in the toe.

Ingrown toenails: Surgical treatment

An ingrown nail occurs when the toenail pierces the skin leading to inflammation and infections. Treatment could involve cutting off the nail’s narrow edge from the edge of the nail to the base of the nail , and treatment of the matrix to prevent growth of the nail.

After one of these treatments the exposed nail bed is treated by applying an antibiotic ointment. Then, the nail bed is secured with an adhesive, non-sticky dressing. (Bring an open-toed footwear or slipper to take to go home from the clinic.) Most people can return to their routine activities (wearing an open-toed footwear) within one or two days. Ask your physician the best time to resume strenuous exercise, such as exercising or jogging.