What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the corner of your nail curls, pierces the surrounding skin then begins to grow directly into the soft tissue. It is a nail injury and not only can it be incredibly painful but if left untreated, it can lead to further foot problems e.g. bad infection.
Common symptoms of an ingrown toenail include inflammation, redness, pain and in more severe cases, there may be a foul smell as the toe starts to weep.
What causes an Ingrown Toenail?
They are several reasons why we get ingrown toenails, they include:
- incorrect cutting of the toenail
- tight-fitting socks and shoes
- excessive sweating or poor foot hygiene
- nail infections
- natural shape of the toenail
What to do if you do have an ingrown toenail?
If you have an ingrown toenail that is only minor and you do not have diabetes, you can treat it yourself to stop it getting worse. You do this by soaking your feet in a basin of luke warm salty water for 15-30 minutes. This process will soften the nail and stop the toenail from becoming infected. Once you have done this, rest your foot for 10 minutes before using a cotton bud and a pair of tweezers/cuticle remover to remove the cuticles. Trim your toenails straight across at a comfortable length (not to short and avoid cutting down the sides). Ingrown toenails occur when the nail curls therefore trimming the toenail straight across, prevents this from happening. You may also want to insert a little bit of clean cotton between your nailto prevent this ingrown toenail from growing back.
As the ingrown toenail heels, allow your feet to breathe for a few hours a day e.g. take socks off when in the house. You can where a bandage around the toe but remember to change it frequently and let it breathe daily. This should result in the toenail growing out normally within a few weeks. If not, then its important to visit your GP or Podiatrist. If you are unsure about treating this yourself, don’t. The worst thing you can do is to treat it yourself if you are unsure about how to do this. Seek help and this will be a fairly minor procedure.
How can you prevent yourself from getting an ingrown toenail?
There are preventative measures you can take to avoid ingrown toenails. Below are some tips you can use safely:
- cut your toenails straight across not don’t do it at an angle or down the edges.
- wear loose shoes and socks so you don’t restrict your blood flow
- making sure your feet are properly clean and look after
- cream is recommended apply 1-2 times a week
And there we have it. If you are suffering an ingrown toenail and would like to seek professional advice, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly either on this website or through social media channels; linkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
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Until next time, have a great day!