Ingrown toenails can be a painful and bothersome condition that occurs when the edge of your nail grows into the nearby skin, resulting in discomfort, redness, swelling, and even infections.
While various factors can cause ingrown toenails, the good news is there are preventive measures you can take to minimize the risk of developing this condition.
Read on as board-certified podiatrist Albert Elhiani, DPM, explores effective strategies for preventing ingrown toenails.
Use proper nail-trimming techniques
One of the primary causes of ingrown toenails is improper nail trimming. To prevent ingrown toenails, follow these guidelines when trimming your nails:
Use the right tools
Use clean, properly sanitized nail clippers or manicure scissors designed for toenails. Avoid using sharp or pointed instruments that damage your nail or surrounding skin.
Trim straight across
Instead of rounding the corners, trim your toenails straight across, which helps prevent the nail from growing into your skin.
Do not cut your nails too short
Trim your nails to a moderate length, leaving a small margin of the white nail edge. Cutting toenails too short increases the likelihood of the nail growing into the skin.
Wear proper footwear
Wearing appropriate footwear plays a crucial role in preventing ingrown toenails. Choose the correct shoe size. Ill-fitting shoes can cause pressure on the toes, leading to nail trauma and ingrown toenails. Ensure your shoes have enough room in the toe box to accommodate your toes comfortably.
Opt for shoes made of breathable materials, like leather or mesh, that reduce moisture buildup and allow air circulation, helping prevent fungal infections from chronically sweaty feet.
In addition to wearing the right size shoes, focus on the right size socks too. Avoid tight socks or hosiery as they can compress your toes, potentially causing nail irritation. Opt for well-fitting socks that provide adequate cushioning and support.
Consider open-toe shoes. If you frequently experience ingrown toenails, wearing open-toe shoes can reduce pressure on the toes and minimize the risk of nails growing into the skin.
Proper foot hygiene
Maintaining good foot hygiene is essential in preventing ingrown toenails, including some of the following hygiene practices:
Keep your feet clean and dry
Wash your feet with warm water and soap daily, and thoroughly dry them. Pay special attention to drying between your toes. Moisture can contribute to fungal or bacterial infections that may increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails.
Protect your feet in public spaces
When using public swimming pools, showers, or locker rooms, wear protective footwear like flip-flops to minimize the risk of contracting infections that can lead to ingrown toenails.
Get help for your ingrown nails
Remember, prevention is critical, and prioritizing foot care can contribute to overall foot health and well-being. If you’re prone to ingrown toenails or experience persistent discomfort, don’t hesitate to seek professional help at Eazy Foot & Ankle in Los Angeles, California. Our team provides expert guidance and recommends appropriate interventions to prevent recurrent ingrown toenails.
Dr. Elhiani may recommend ingrown nail surgery, antifungal medication, and antibiotics (if needed). If you need toenail restoration, he uses the Keryflex® nail restoration system to rebuild damaged nails.
Get help for your ingrown nail here in the Pico Robertson area of Los Angeles, California. You can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 424-375-6348.