How to Prevent and Treat Ingrown Toenails

Jul 13, 2022

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How to Prevent and Treat Ingrown Toenails

Your toenails protect the tops of your toes, armoring the front of your feet. But, if you develop ingrown toenails, the tough qualities of your toenails that formerly protected you can turn into a real podiatry problem.

Ingrown toenails affect many people, especially if you live with risk factors like wearing tight-toed footwear! For some people, including those living with diabetes, preventing ingrown toenails is a serious part of regular foot care. In general, you could probably benefit from adding in some steps to prevent ingrown toenails to your foot care routine.

At Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic of Holladay and West Jordan, Utah, our team of expert podiatrists, led by Dr. Christiaan Goebel and Dr. Weston Packard provide care and treatment for ingrown toenails. And, we can also advise you on preventive steps to keep ingrown toenails from becoming a problem in your life. Here’s what you need to know.

Causes and risks of ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the side of your nail starts growing into the skin alongside your nail bed instead of covering the area. You’re most likely to experience ingrown toenails on your big toes, but any of your toes can be affected by this painful podiatry condition.

As your ingrown toenail worsens, you may start to experience symptoms including redness, tenderness, swelling, pain, and infection resulting in pus. Just putting on your shoes may be painful, and walking or spending long amounts of time on your feet can become a real challenge if you have a severe ingrown toenail.

Preventing ingrown toenails

Typically, ingrown toenails become a problem when your footwear is too tight around your toes, or if you’re not using good technique when it comes to clipping your nails.

To prevent ingrown toenails, always choose shoes that give your toes enough wiggle room. When you trim your toenails, use a curving motion that doesn’t leave behind any sharp corners or straight edges that can start to cut into your skin.

Treatment options for ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails won’t necessarily go away on their own, and can cause debilitating pain and infection risk if not treated. And, despite your efforts at prevention, genetic factors like the shape of your toes can make you prone to ingrown toenails anyway.

At Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic, we offer a variety of treatment solutions for ingrown toenails of varying degrees of severity.

Depending on your condition, you may benefit from:

  • Soaking the affected foot in warm water
  • Professional splinting or cotton support for your nail
  • Partial or total ingrown toenail removal, or matrixectomy, offered in-office with a local anesthetic

Don’t try to cut your own ingrown toenail away, as you can cause damage or complications without an expert professional hand.

To learn more about your options for ingrown toenail treatment and prevention with Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic, contact us over the phone or online to book your appointment today.