Ingrown toenails are a common condition which usually affects the big toe. This condition occurs when the side or the corner of the toenail grows into your soft flesh.
Redness, swelling, and pain are often common symptoms of ingrown toenails.
While seemingly harmless, when left untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to infection and in worse case scenarios, ingrown toenail surgery.
Keep ingrown toenails and its complications at bay by keeping in mind the following helpful tips:
Straight across is the way to go. When trimming your toenails, it is recommended that you do not curve it to match the shape of your front toe. If you will have your toenails trimmed at a salon, be sure to instruct your pedicurist to trim your nails right across.
If you can’t trim your nails and you have a condition that causes blood to flow poorly to your feet, it is ideal to pay a podiatrist a visit every time you need your nails trimmed.
Ensure that you only wear shoes that fit properly. A nail that grows into the surrounding tissue can be secondary to too much pressure on the toes. In most cases, the pressure can be attributed to wearing shoes that do not fit properly.
At all times, make it a point to only purchase and wear properly fitted shoes. This is especially important if you have foot problems to take into account. In similar cases, it would be preferable to purchase from shoe stores that specialize in fitting shoes for those with foot issues.
Don’t trim your toenails too short. As with everything else in life, moderate is the way to go when it comes to trimming your toenails. In other words, it is recommended to go for moderate length—not too short and not too long.
While trimming your toenails too short might seem like the ideal option at first glance, it can prove counterproductive. When your toenails are trimmed too short, pressure from your shoes might eventually cause a nail to grow into the tissue.
Opt for protective footwear when needed. If there is a big risk of getting your toes injured while at work, play it safe by wearing steel-toed footwear.
If you have medical conditions like diabetes, be extra vigilant and constantly check for signs of ingrown toenails and other foot problems.
However, if you already have an ingrown toenail, it is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention especially if the following symptoms are present:
- Redness or pus in the affected area
- Severe discomfort
- If you have foot sore, infection, diabetes, or other conditions that causes poor blood flow to the feet
Left undetected or untreated, an ingrown toenail can cause infection to the underlying bone and can even result to a serious bone infection.
Complications can be especially severe if you have diabetes. The condition will make any foot injury, even minor ones from healing properly.
While ingrown toenail surgery is not often the first option doctors recommended, it can be resorted to when the risk of complications becomes high.
When paying your family doctor or podiatrist a visit, make it a point to come well-prepared so you’ll have all the bases covered.
The following questions should get your preparation off to a good start:
- What are the possible treatment options? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
- Is it possible to wait and see if the condition goes away on its own?
- Would ingrown toenail surgery be necessary?
- Is my condition long-term or temporary?
- What nail care routines are deemed ideal while healing?
Ingrown toenails are often not a cause of worry if attended to right away. Left untreated however, it can be a different story. The good thing is complications and discomforts brought about by ingrown toenails can be easily avoided if you attend to it right away before the condition escalates.