Clipping toenailsToenails require maintenance, only offer a limited amount of protection, and can become infected. All in all, they may seem to be more trouble than they are worth. You might agree even more when you also consider ingrown toenails that hurt when you bump them. There are certainly benefits to healthy nails, but this means learning how to prevent and treat an ingrown nail.

How Do Toenails Become Ingrown?

There are instances where you might inherent a foot that includes curved nails that have a tendency to grow into the surrounding skin, but more common causes include how you trim your nails and your choices in footwear. Whatever the reason, they lead to pain and tenderness, redness, and swelling around the affected nail. They also put you at risk for an infection.

Ingrown Toenails and Diabetes

Diabetes requires extra care and attention for your feet. If you live with diabetes, you need to perform a daily foot check and keep your toenails trimmed properly. Ingrown toenail prevention is one of the many reasons behind this.

When an ingrown toenail pierces the skin, it creates an opening for contaminants to enter the body. If this condition is already present, contract our office today and schedule an appointment with us. We will provide the care you need to avoid a critical medical condition.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

As is often the case, your best course of action is to prevent the condition from happening in the first place. When it comes to preventative measures for an ingrown nail, the following will help decrease your risk:

  • Proper trimming. Avoid the temptation to round your toenails. Instead, clip them straight across and keep them even with the edge of your toe.
  • Proper footwear. Shoes that are too tight or narrow can place pressure on or pinch your toes, thereby causing a nail to become ingrown. To prevent this, pick models that fit comfortably and offer room for your toes to wiggle freely.
  • Protective footwear. In addition to proper fit, be sure to wear protective footwear—like steel-toed shoes or boots—if you work in an environment where you might drop something heavy on your feet.

Home Treatment for an Ingrown Toenail

When it comes to treating and ingrown nail, you can start with basic home care—unless you are diabetic—to see if it helps. The following procedure might be enough to treat your condition:

  1. Begin by soaking your feet for 15 to 20 minutes in warm water. Do this three or four times daily in order to relieve tenderness and reduce swelling.
  2. After soaking your feet, place fresh bits of waxed dental floss or cotton under the edge that has become ingrown. Doings so will help your nail grow above the edge of the surrounding skin, instead of into it.
  3. Apply antibiotic ointment or cream to the affected area and then bandage your toe.

Use those steps, but also opt for sandals or open-toed shoes (when possible) and take over-the-counter pain relievers if you are experiencing toe pain. As always, consult with our office prior to taking medication for proper dosages and types.

Foot Doctor Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

Home remedies can be effective, but sometimes you need to enlist the help of a foot specialist for an ingrown toenail. When this is the case, procedures we may use include:

  • Nail lift. In order to separate the problem nail from your overlying skin, we will carefully lift the nail edge for you and apply material under the nail.
  • Partial removal. In severe cases—particularly if there is pain, redness, and/or pus—we may elect to remove the ingrown portion of your nail.
  • Entire removal. If the same nail repeatedly becomes an issue, we will discuss removing it and using a procedure that prevents it from growing back.

The Professional Foot Care You Need

McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group is here to help the greater Sacramento community with any foot or ankle issues that our patients develop, including ingrown toenails. Our caring, professional staff is ready to assist you and restore your feet to their natural, healthy selves. Contact our Carmichael, CA office via our online form or by simply calling (916) 961-3434 today.


Photo Credit: ponsulak -

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