Ingrown toenails occur when the nail (usually on the big toe) grows into the flesh of the toe instead of over it. When your nails are thicker, curved or if you trim them improperly you are more likely to suffer from ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails can become infected and may be red, painful, swollen and may leak pus.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails?
- A stubbed or injured toe
- Wearing shoes or stockings that are too tight
- Trimming your nails too short or curved around the edges
- Picking or tearing at the corners of your nails
- Nails that curve or grow downward
Treating Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown nails are painful, but they are easily treatable. While most cases can be treated at home , if you develop an infection you should make sure to see your foot specialist.
Home treatment options include:
- Soaking the affected foot a few times a day. Then, keep the toe dry.
- Trim the nails straight across. Don’t curve the sides or cut them too short.
- Put a small piece of floss or cotton under the nail with a small amount of antiseptic to reroute the growth.
- Wear open-toed shoes as much as possible and avoid ill-fitted, tight shoes.
- Avoid using sharp objects to dig under the nail, as this can lead to infection.
If the problem persists, you may need to see your podiatrist to have part of the nail removed. She may also prescribe antibiotics if you have an infection.
Untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to serious complications like ulcerations or gangrene.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Take care of your feet. Take the time to keep your feet clean and trim your nails properly. Even if you are predisposed to ingrown toenails based on the way your nails grow, you can still work to take excellent care of your feet.