Toenails play an important role in our feet, helping to protect them from injury and infection. But, as much as they help, they can also be the source of problems, such as ingrown toenails.
If you get an ingrown toenail, don’t fret! Our providers at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center in Chandler and Laveen, Arizona, are experts in treating ingrown toenails.
However, we would much rather you keep from getting ingrown toenails in the first place — and we’re sure you would, too. So in this blog, we explain what you can do to help avoid this problem, and what you can do if it occurs.
Preventing ingrown toenails
To keep your toenails and nail beds happy, try doing the following things:
Trim your nails straight across
When you cut your toenails with a curve at the edges, it encourages the nail to grow downward and potentially into your nail bed. Instead, clip your nails straight across.
On this note, make sure you’re regularly cutting your toenails. Keep them short enough so they’re roughly in line with your toe tip. This can prevent your shoes from pressing on them and contributing to an ingrown toenail.
Choose roomy shoes
Shoes with a small toe box can apply pressure to your toenails, encouraging them to grow downward and into your toe. Avoid shoes with a pointed toe and always try on pairs before you buy them. If you feel any pinching at the top or the sides of the toe box, consider sizing up to give your toes ample room.
Wear work boots when appropriate
Traumatic injury to your toenail can start an ingrown toenail. If you’re going to be doing something that could injure your toe — such as moving or working with heavy materials — choose sturdy shoes that will protect your toes.
In fact, if you regularly work in a field that puts your toes at risk, consider investing in a pair of steel-toed boots.
Help! I have an ingrown toenail, so what do I do?
If you have an ingrown toenail, don’t make the problem worse by trying to treat it yourself. A lot of the worst ingrown toenails we see developed because someone tried to fix the nail problem at home. Unfortunately, a DIY approach can worsen the situation.
If you notice redness, swelling, or discomfort along the edge of your toenail, don’t try to dig out the nail yourself. Instead, come see our team. We can treat your ingrown toenail comfortably and effectively and give you guidance on preventing them in the future.
If you think you might have an ingrown toenail, book an appointment online or over the phone with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center today.