Ingrown Toenails — Oceanside Foot Doctor Offers Tips for Preventing Them

Ingrown toenails are a common but painful condition that affects the borders of the nail. The borders become curved and grow into the nail groove causing the toe to become painful. Ingrown nails can be progressive and will often become worse with pressure on the nail from shoes. Ingrown nails are likely to be located on your big toe but can affect any toe. Ingrown nails can occur on either one or both sides of any nail plate.

It is important that you have ingrown toenails evaluated to prevent infection. If you see the area around the toe nail reddening and becoming increasingly painful and swollen, then you should really go and see your podiatrist. Antibiotics can help with the infection but you have a mechanical problem with the nail and this should be addressed to prevent a recurrence. Other warning signs are when blisters start to form around the nail and these blisters may be filled with pus. Any infection can easily spread to the rest of the toe if it is not treated professionally so seek medical advice.

There are quite a few possible causes of ingrown toenails such as:

— Wearing ill- fitting shoes. If the shoes are too tight across the toes, they can put pressure on the nail forcing it against the skin.

— If you have had an injury to the nail, this can easily make the nail deformed and begin to grow into the surrounding skin.

— Fungal nail infections should be treated as this makes it easier to get an ingrown toenail.

— If you play a lot of sports, the skin around the nail becomes softer through sweat and makes it easier for the nail to dig into the skin.

— Taking care when cutting your toenails is important too as if you cut them too short or into a curved shape across the toe, it brings a greater risk of the nail being forced against the surrounding area.

Self-help treatments include the following preventative measures …

Make sure that your foot is clean, dry and kept elevated as much as possible when it is very painful.

Rest is important as is keeping the foot bare where possible, additional pressure can make the pain feel worse.

Soaking your feet in warm, salted water will enable the nail to soften so that you can lift it slightly and slide a little piece of cotton wool underneath the edge of the nail. The cotton wool must be replaced every day but it can help to ensure that the nail does not bite into the skin. Salt water will help to prevent infection and should reduce inflammation.

If your ingrown toenail problem is more severe seek medical advice.

Treatment is quite often simple and very effective, but be sure to visit your podiatrist as soon as possible, and once they have examined the area and made their diagnosis, they will usually be able to trim the nail and cut away the offending nail.

Sometimes surgery is required and a local anesthetic would be applied to numb the area. The surgery is quite straightforward and sometimes the whole nail might need to be removed. Afterward, it is simply a matter of keeping the toe clean and re-dressed while it is healing. If you have diabetes, poor circulation or other condition where healing is impaired, then you must seek medical advice as soon as possible and ensure that the podiatrist is aware of your condition.

Quite often, people within family groups seem to suffer from ingrown toenails so if you know that others within your family have suffered this condition, it is worth putting some preventative measures in place to reduce your own chances, similarly, if your toenails are naturally rounded, then it puts you at higher risk. Incorporating a general foot care regime into your daily life is important and make regular check-up appointments with your podiatrist as this can greatly reduce the chances of nasty infected ingrown toenails from developing.

If you have a painful ingrown toenail, and you live in southern California, take advantage of your ability to contact Dr. Thomas Shin. You can even click here to schedule an appointment today.