While an ingrown toenail isn’t the biggest health concern you’ll likely face, it’s not a welcome scenario, either. It might make your favorite shoes unwearable or cause discomfort with every step you take. Plus, if it gets infected, you’ll have a much bigger problem on your hands.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent getting ingrown toenails. And one of the best ways to prevent getting ingrown toenails is extremely easy to implement. You just need to know how to cut them properly.
If you do get an ingrown toenail, the experts at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center, with offices in Laveen, Chandler, and Mesa, Arizona, can treat your toe and help you get well. But to help you keep from getting ingrown toenails in the first place, they explain how to trim them properly.
Why ingrown toenails develop
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows into the skin, and the most common place it occurs is the big toe. Ingrown toenails can develop for a number of reasons, including the following:
Wearing tight shoes
If you wear shoes that are too tight in the toe box, this can put constant pressure on one or more nails, which can encourage them to grow into nearby skin.
Hurting your toe
Stubbing your toe can also cause an ingrown nail, as trauma can change the structure of the nail.
Cutting your nails improperly
Improperly cutting your nails can also lead to ingrown toenails, as jagged edges or other parts of the nail may grow into nearby skin.
If you get an ingrown toenail, you’ll likely see redness and swelling in the area, and it will likely feel tender. Left untreated, it could get infected.
How to cut your toenails properly
Before you cut your toenails, make sure your clippers are clean. This can help prevent your toes from getting infected. And, if your toenails are hard to cut, soak them in warm water for a few minutes before you get started.
When it comes to the actual cutting, avoid two common mistakes: trimming your toenails too short and rounding the corners.
Most people cut their nails back as far as they can and then taper the corners of the nail. Actually, you should cut your toenails straight across. When you have rounded corners, especially when you cut them far back into your nail bed, the toenails can curve downward as they grow out. This can cause the edges of the nails to grow into your skin and result in an ingrown toenail.
However, by trimming your toenails straight across, you can keep the corners of your nail elevated above your skin, making it much harder to get an ingrown nail.
All of this said, if you still get one, don’t panic. We can treat your ingrown toenail and help keep you from getting one in the future.
If you notice redness, swelling, or tenderness at the corner of a nail, you could have an ingrown toenail. To get a thorough evaluation and treatment, book an appointment online or over the phone with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center today.