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By Dr. Alison D. Croughan
February 18, 2017
Category: Ingrown Toenails
Tags: Foot Care   Toenails  

Your toe is red and swollen and it appears the nail of your toe is growing underneath your skin. It might even be painful for you to walk or put on shoes. Sound familiar? Chances are you have an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails occur when the nail begins to grow underneath the skin of the toe.  Although a common condition, it’s important to take proper care of your ingrown toenail so that it does not become infected.  A serious infection of an ingrown toenail can often require medical attention.

In this article, we’ll provide you with tips for prevention and outline for you the most effective steps for ingrown toenail treatment what will hopefully be your last ingrown toenail.  

What causes an ingrown toenail and how can it be prevented?

If you’ve ever suffered from an ingrown toenail, you’ll likely want to know the causes and remember the tips for prevention so you can avoid having one again in the future. Practice these tips for prevention and your toes will thank you for it ☺

Cause #1: Tight footwear
Prevention: Wear shoes that fit and be sure that you are leaving plenty of wiggle room for your toes to move around, avoiding any rubbing on the interior of the shoe. For those who love high heels, unfortunately you may need to give your favorite pair a short break. The steep angle of heels causes your toes to become wedged which applies pressure to the toenail area. It’s best to wear sandals or open shoes that allow your toes breathing room and if you already have an ingrown toenail, wearing open shoes will help speed up the healing process.

Cause #2: Improper nail trimming technique
Prevention: Be sure to cut your nails in a straight line, rather than a curved shape. Also, be careful not to cut your nails too close to the skin.

Cause #3: Trauma or injury to the toenail
Prevention: You may have an ingrown toenail from a simple stubbed toe or perhaps from playing sports. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to prevent small injuries like this from occurring, however, wearing properly fitted shoes can drastically reduce your chances of toe injuries.

It’s important to note that ingrown toenails can be caused by several other factors including heredity and genetics, poor foot hygiene, and diabetes or other medical issues, which could increase your chances of obtaining an ingrown toenail.

A Step-by-Step Home Remedy for Curing an Ingrown Toenail

Unfortunately, the case may be that you already have an ingrown toenail and it’s too late to prevent it. Luckily, there is a safe and natural method for getting rid of an ingrown toenail without having to make a visit to your doctor.

Step 1:
Soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salt. Do this by filling a tub with warm water and add 1 cup of Epsom salt. This will keep the affected area clean and bacteria-free and the salt will also relieve any swelling. Soak your feet at least 3 times per day and for 15 to 30 minutes.

Step 2:
Typically, after soaking your feet, the skin around the infected area of the toe will soften which will allow for the toenail to grow outward from the skin. If you do not notice a difference within a few days, another popular method after soaking your foot is to gently place a cotton wisp underneath the nail bed to help support the toenail in growing toward the correct direction.

Step 3:
Be sure to also apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area at least twice a day.
Antibiotic ointment is important as it will help prevent infection. After applying ointment, bandage the toe carefully.

With these steps, most ingrown toenails will improve, however if your symptoms persist or worsen, be sure to contact your Manhasset podiatrist for professional advice.

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Advanced Podiatry of Manhasset at the Americana

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