When it comes to your toenails, we want to stopt them from turning against you. And from growing into your skin. With this goal in mind, you can't only avoid mistakes. You also have to take proactive, protective measures.
After all, since the start of the pandemic, more and more people are developing ingrown toenails. Why is that the case? Well, I can think of a few reasons. First, lots of people started running routines during the pandemic. And, when you increase your training miles, or run in shoes that don't fit well, your toes may slam into your sneakers. This can leave you with black toenails, but it can also increase your chances of developing ingrown nails.
But that's not all. During the lockdown, lots of us started doing at-home pedicures. (Often for the first time ever!) Now, I'm all for skipping the nail salon. You just have to follow these safety tips for perfect home pedicures. Otherwise, you may trim your nails too short. Or cut them on an angle. Both of which increase your risk for ingrown nails, unfortunately.
Alright, so now you know why ingrown toenail cases are on the rise in my Houston podiatry practice. And, with that in mind, you can check out the video below to learn the mistakes you make that lead to ingrown toenails. Then, check out our top proactive tips for preventing ingrown toenails.
5 Moves Sure to Keep Ingrown Toenails Away
Want to keep your nails growing in the right direction? Check out these top tips from the Houston podiatrist!
- Cover up those nails. Injury is a major cause of ingrown toenail. Do you think that heavy objects may fall on your feet? Whether you're at work or lplay, be ware of falling objects and think about those nails! After all, protective gear like steel-toed boots exist for a reason. You should investing in a quality pair of protective boots. Not only will this help prevent ingrown toenails. But it will also protect you from many other potential injuries.
- Check your feet with care. We give this advice to diabetics, but anyone with feet can follow this same suggestion. Look at your feet, toes and nails. Every single day. This is the best way to notice (and stave off) potential complications. Wondering what signs of a developing ingrown toenail look like? These are the symptoms you should never ignore: Redness, swelling, pus, or an inability to see the edge of the nail.
- Get in the right shape. When trimming toenails, cut in a straight line, not in the curved silhouette of your toe. This may leave your nail a little longer in the corners, but that’s ok. Once you've got a straight, flat top, you can gently file the nail edges. That way, your nail corners become less pointy. They can also have a slight beveled if you prefer the look when your nail follows the shape of your toe. You see, with mild filing, you nails can still grow out straight. Which helps prevent them from digging into your skin as an ingrown toenail.
- Make frequent, tiny trims. Forget cutting your nails super short, and only taking action every week to a week and a half. Instead, make more frequent, little trims to those toenails. What’s the ideal length? Your toe will actually be your guide here: aim to keep nails even with your toe tips. Going any shorter is a problem. This may allow the pressure from your shoes to impact and redirect the direction of your nail growth. Leading to...you guessed it: an ingrown toenail!
- Wear shoes that fit. Shun pointy, toe-pinching shoes in favor of pairs with roomier toe boxes. And make sure your socks aren't too tight either, since that can cause toenails to turn inward. But don’t go too big with your foot coverings. If your shoes slip and slide, your nails will bump against those edges. And, over time, the impact of shoe against nail could also cause ingrown toenails to develop. Got other foot complications because of diabetes? It may be worth investing in a pair of specialty diabetic shoes. That way, you'll protect nails and feet from ingrown toenails. Plus corns, callouses and unwanted pressure.
Got an Ingrown Nail? These Are Your Next Steps
If you see any of these symptoms on your feet, chances are that you’ve already developed an ingrown toenail. Now, read this: do NOT attempt to solve this problem at home. Bathroom surgery will only make matters worse. And it will leave you vulnerable to other complications. Instead, come into the office right away. Remember: ingrown toenails are a foot problem we can treat. We can do so with almost no pain, and a fast procedure and recovery time. Assuming, that is, that you haven’t made matters worse by taking treatment efforts into your own hands! And, if you need a little relief while you're waiting for your appointment, try soaking the affected toe in warm water and Epsom salts or, better yet, one of the Tolcylen soaks we recommend in the office.
Ingrown Toenail Treatment
When you come to the office, I'll get to work providing pain relief for your ingrown toenail. How we treat the nail will depend on its current state when you come into see me.
If you have an infected ingrown toenail, I may prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic. I may do so even if you don't have an infection, if I think there's a risk for future problems.
Next, I'll approach your ingrown toenail treatment in one of three ways:
- Lifting the nail. I take this approach for mild cases. When nails turn slightly inward. And skin is red, but there's no sign of infection. With this procedure, I'll lift the edge of your ingrowing nail edge, and keep it in place with cotton or a splint.
- Removing part of the nail. If your ingrown nail is more severe, I'll trim or remove the ingrown part of your nail. You may need to wear a surgical boot for a few days after this procedure, to protect your nail and allow healing.
- Removing the entire nail. I'll only take this step if you keep having an ingrown toenail problem on the same toe.
Want to avoid pain and get fast relief? Don’t wait and watch your ingrown toenail develop swelling or pus. Instead, schedule an immediate appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider. If I see you sooner, less invasive treatments will be more effective!