A common condition that often affects the big toe is called ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or the side of the toenail grows into the soft flesh.
Although seemingly harmless, sans treatment, ingrown toenails can sometimes result to infection.
In worse case scenarios, it might even require ingrown toenail surgery.
To keep ingrown toenail (and its complications) at bay, keep in mind the following helpful tips:
Make sure your footwear fits properly.
Nails that grow into the surrounding tissue can be the result of too much pressure placed on the toes. In most instances, the pressure can be attributed to wearing footwear that do not fit properly.
At all times, it is recommended that you only wear and purchase properly fitted shoes.
This is especially helpful if you also have other foot problems to take care of.
When possible, buy shoes from stores that specialize in fitting footwear for those individuals with foot issues.
Trim your nails straight across.
Ideally, when trimming your toenails, make it a point not to curve it to match your front toe’s shape.
If you will have your toenails trimmed at the salon, make it a point to instruct the pedicurist to trim your nails right across.
If you are suffering from a condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet, it would be ideal to have a podiatrist do your trimming on your behalf.
Ensure you do not trim your nails too short.
Apart from ensuring you trim the nails right across, it is also advisable that nails are not trimmed too short.
As with everything else, moderation is always the key.
In other words, moderate length should be the goal—not too long and not too short.
While trimming the nails too short might seem like the ideal option at first glance, nothing can be farther from the truth.
In fact, it might even prove counterproductive.
When the toenails are trimmed too short, pressure from the shoes might cause the toenail to grow into the surrounding tissue.
Wear/use protective footwear when needed.
If you are susceptible to foot injuries while at work or at play, be sure to wear proper footwear.
For instance, if there is a high possibility of foot injuries while at work, wearing steel-toed footwear is ideal.
However, if you already have an ingrown toenail, seeking medical attention is required especially if the following symptoms will manifest:
- Severe discomfort
- Pus or redness in the affected area
- If you have diabetes, infection, foot sore, or other conditions that will cause poor blood flow to the feet
Sans proper attention and treatment, ingrown toenails can cause infection and can affect the underlying bone. In other cases, it can even lead to serious bone infection.
Complications from ingrown toenails can be especially severe for people with diabetes. The condition can make any foot injury (even the minor ones) from healing properly.
Although ingrown toenail surgery is always not the first option recommended by doctors, it can become the primary option when the risk of complications is high.
When visiting your doctor or podiatrist, it is crucial that you come prepared so you will have all the bases covered.
When possible, prepare a list of questions you will ask so you will know all the essentials.
The following questions should make it to your list:
- Is the condition going away on its own a possibility?
- What treatment options are available?
- What are the pros and cons of each treatment alternative?
- Would ingrown toenail surgery be required?
- Is the condition temporary or long-term?
- What are the recommended nail care routines while healing?
Ingrown toenails are mostly harmless, given they are attended to right away.
Sans treatment however, it can be a different story.
The good news is discomfort and complications brought about by ingrown toenails are avoidable if attention and treatment are given right away before it escalates.