An ingrown toenail usually begins as a minor inconvenience. Unfortunately, this condition can quickly go from mild to severe, causing serious pain and discomfort. Luckily, you can learn to prevent ingrown toenails and identify factors which could contribute to ingrown toenail development with Foot Health Center in West Orange, NJ.
What causes an ingrown toenail?
A toenail becomes ingrown when it curls down on the sides, putting pressure onto or even piercing the skin. If left untreated, ingrown toenails can cause pain, discomfort, swelling, and infection. Ingrown toenails occur for several reasons, including:
- wearing ill-fitting shoes
- improperly cutting the toenails
- wearing too-tight socks
- underlying conditions
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Preventing an ingrown toenail is often as simple as making some small lifestyle changes. Avoid wearing too-tight, high-heeled, or narrow shoes which do not allow the toes to sit flat in the toe box. When cutting the toenails, you should take care to cut them straight across the top and avoid cutting them too short. Do not curve the sides down as this contributes to the development of ingrown toenails. Be sure to keep the feet clean and dry at all times, wearing a new pair of socks daily. This will help decrease the chances of an ingrown toenail becoming infected.
Ingrown Toenail Treatments in West Orange, NJ
Depending on its severity, treating an ingrown toenail usually begins at home. Soaking the foot in a warm water bath helps reduce swelling and decrease pain. After soaking the toe, place a piece of cotton or dental floss under the side of the toenail to help it grow above the skin rather than into it. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can also reduce pain and swelling. Wearing open-toed shoes can help reduce irritation.
If these methods of home treatment fail, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream to apply to the affected toe. They may also lift the nail to help aid the growth of the nail. In severe cases, your doctor will remove part of the nail. If your ingrown toenail recurs often, your podiatrist may suggest removing the entire nail and part of the nail bed to prevent that portion of the nail from growing back in the future.
For more information on ingrown toenails, please contact your podiatrist at Foot Health Center in West Orange, NJ. Call 973-731-1266 to schedule your appointment with your Foot Health Center podiatrist today!