Ingrown toenails happen when the edges of the nail plate are penetrated into the soft tissue of the toe. The painful irritation that results can often turn into infection. The nail margin can become red, swollen and produce drainage after bacterial invasion.
Ingrown toenails can be caused by a hereditary tendency to form ingrown toenails, cutting your toenails the wrong way or wearing shoes that do not fit properly. Ingrown toenails can often reoccur if they are not treated correctly. Our Richardson ingrown toenail specialists are ready to help when your ingrown toenail gets out of hand.
To prevent ingrown toenails from happening, make sure that you are trimming your toenails straight across. Do not curve your nails to match the shape at the top of your toes. Also, keep your toenails at a moderate length by trimming them to be even with the tips of your toes. Trimming your nails too short can cause the pressure from your shoes to direct nail growth into the tissue.
You should also avoid wearing shoes that place too much pressure on your toes or pinch them as they could also cause your nails to grow into the surrounding tissue. Any nerve damage to the feet could prevent you from being able to tell if your shoes are too tight. Wear protective footwear, such as steel-toed shoes, if you are doing activity that puts you at risk of injuring your toes. If you have diabetes, you should check your feet daily for signs of ingrown toenails.
If you do end up with an ingrown toenail, there are several actions suggested by our Richardson ingrown toenail specialists that can be taken to treat it. Soaking your foot in warm salt water can relieve pain and swelling. Keeping your foot dry except when soaking can also help the healing process. Place small pieces of clean, moist cotton between the ingrown toenail and the skin to separate them and provide cushioning. Use antibiotic ointment on your toe to prevent infection and cover it with a bandage for protection.
If you do start to see signs of infection or if your ingrown toenail is reoccurring, see one of our Richardson ingrown toenail specialists at Metroplex Foot and Ankle to determine the next steps and the treatment option that is best for you. Contact us to make an appointment at one of our Richardson, Garland or Plano locations.