Avoiding & Treating Ingrown Toenail: What You Need To Know

Ingrown toenail is an extremely painful condition, but if you know what causes it, they really are not too difficult to avoid. A toenail will grow into the skin surrounding it if the nail if the nail is cut too short. This is a situation that should be avoided at all costs because, in addition to being painful, an ingrown toenail can cause redness and swelling and become infected.

In this article, we will share some important information that will help you avoid and treat ingrown toenails.

What you will also learn:

  • How do you fix an ingrown toenail?
  • How can I cure an ingrown toenail?
  • How do I relieve an ingrown toenail?
  • What happens if you leave your ingrown toenail?

Read on to learn more.

How to prevent ingrown toenails

  1. Take good care of your feet. Buy a foot massager of a home foot spa. If you allow your feet to become too sweaty and dirty, you are likely to have problems.
  2. Always cut your toenails correctly. Cut them straight across rather than rounding the corners. When you cut the corners too closely, they will be more likely to grow into the skin. Be sure not to cut your toenails too short. This can also cause problems.
  3. If you have a pedicurist trim your toenails, be sure he or she does the job properly. If you have complications, such as peripheral vascular disease, diabetes or slow circulation in your feet, be sure to have your nails trimmed by your podiatrist. This will help you prevent problems that tend to arise for people who have these health conditions.
  4. Always wear properly fitted shoes, socks and stockings. Your shoes should be long enough and wide enough to give your toes some wiggle room. If your shoes are constantly pressing against your toenails, you can expect problems. Well-fitted footwear can help you avoid a number of health problems.

What causes ingrown toenails?

It is most common for the nail on the great toe (big toe) to grow into the skin on the side of the nail. This may happen on only one side of the nail or on both sides. The most common culprit is shoes that do not provide enough room for the toes and the toenails. Socks and stockings that fit too tightly can also cause toenails to grow into the skin.

Another common cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming. If you cut your toenails too short and/or trim the edges, the skin surrounding the toenail is likely to grow over the corner of the nail. As the nail grows, it will grow into the skin causing pain, swelling and the development of a callus at the site.

If your toenails are unusually curved, this may also cause them to grow into the skin even if you trim them properly. Likewise, your posture and the way you walk can cause problems.

If you injure your toenail by kicking a hard surface or by dropping something heavy on your foot, this may also cause your toenails to grow into the skin.

Another common cause of ingrown toenails is improper hygiene. If you do not keep your feet clean and change your socks often, your toenails may grow into the skin. This is because when your feet are hot and sweaty, your nails are softer and may curve into the skin and stay there.

How can you tell if you have an ingrown toenail?

There are a number of signs and symptoms to watch for that indicate problems with ingrown toenails. The first thing you are likely to notice is pain and tenderness in the skin at the corner of the toenail. This may be accompanied by a rash and/or swelling.

The skin around the nail may become hard and callused in an attempt to protect itself against being pierced by the toenail. If/when the toenail does pierce the skin, it can cause infection because it will introduce bacteria to your system.

If you see or feel any of these signs and symptoms, you must see a doctor:

  • Extreme Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Pus

How are infected ingrown toenails treated?

Most of the time, ingrown toenails can be treated at home. The exception to this is cases in which the sufferer has poor circulation in the extremities, peripheral vascular disease or diabetes. Additionally, if pain is intense and/or infection is present you should seek medical help.

Infection should always be treated by a medical professional. Your general practitioner may refer you to a podiatrist for specialized treatment. Your health care professional may recommend self treatment at home, antibiotics and/or surgery. It all depends on the severity of your condition.

Home remedies & treatments for ingrown toenails

Your doctor may recommend pain relief medication and/or antibiotics to be taken orally. He or she may instruct you to soak your foot in warm water several times daily. Alternatively, you can also use a nail softener. When the skin is soft, use a cotton swab to push it from the toenail gently.

You will probably need to see your doctor or podiatrist to have dead, hard skin gently trimmed away. The doctor may put a small piece of cotton wool under the edge of the toenail to prevent it growing into the skin again. You will have to change this daily to prevent infection.

Healing an infected ingrown toenail can be a lengthy process because you must redirect the skin and wait for the toenail to grow properly again.

Is ingrown toenail surgery necessary?

If your podiatrist or doctor is not able to resolve your problem with the methods described, he or she may have to remove part or all of your toenail. Partial removal is called toenail avulsion. This method is used to narrow the toenail and redirect its growth. The skin at the sides of the toenail may also be trimmed.

Sometimes ingrown toenails become so bad that the nail gets very distorted or becomes very thick. When this happens, the entire nail has to be removed. In this case, it is hoped that the new nail will grow back properly.

If the nail repeatedly grows back improperly and continues to cause problems, it will have to be permanently removed. With this process, the nail bed cells are removed so the toenail does not grow back. This can be done using a chemical called phenol, or it may be done using a laser.

Local anesthesia is used during these procedures because it would otherwise be very painful. You will stay awake throughout the procedure, but it won’t hurt.

Following these procedures, you may naturally feel some pain. Your doctor may prescribe a pain reliever, or you may wish to use an over-the-counter product. Following your surgery, you must take care to wear open, wide-fit sandals or soft, roomy shoes at all times.

Disclaimer: PediReviews.co.uk does not provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis.

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