One of the most painful and common conditions patients bring to us at Texas Foot Specialists are ingrown toenails. The tendency for ingrown toenails can be inherited and they can also be the result of an injury or fungal infection. There are, however, other causes that can be prevented—and if you’ve ever experienced an ingrown toenail, chances are you’d much rather do what is necessary to prevent one. Below are 3 strategies to follow:
Trim nails properly. The number one cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming. Toenails should be cut straight across and not so short that the skin on the edges can easily overlap the nail, which encourages it to grow inward. It’s also important not to file toenails into a rounded shape.
Don’t wear socks and shoes that are too tight. Footwear that keeps your toes perpetually forced up against one another makes it easier for a nail to become ingrown.
Practice good foot hygiene. If your feet tend to sweat excessively, you may have an increased risk for developing an ingrown toenail. Wash feet daily with warm water and soap and dry completely before putting on socks and shoes.
If despite your best efforts at prevention you end up with an ingrown toenail, you can try soaking your foot in warm water several times a day. This may soften the skin enough that you will be able to massage the nail out. If this does not work, however, it is important that you contact our Pasadena (281) 991-0600, Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 or Houston (713) 664-6677 office. Our podiatrists Dr. Gregory Mangum and Dr. Bruce Miller will determine the correct treatment for your toenail. Sometimes in addition to being red, tender and painful, an infection will develop. Signs that this has occurred include discharge from the nail and a foul odor. The foot doctor may then need to prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection in addition to treating the toenail.
Delaying treatment will only cause you unnecessary suffering. Don’t wait, make an appointment today.