3 Ways to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

feet and toes

If you have ever experienced an ingrown toenail, or have in the past, then you know just how painful they can be. These pesky rogue nails make simple tasks like walking uncomfortable and sometimes even unbearable. Ingrown toenails occur when the sharp edge of your nail pierces into the flesh of your toe. This can cause sharp pain from pressure and can even lead to infection if not treated properly. 

Rather than attempting toenail surgery in your bathroom every time your nail decides to attack your toe, try following these preventative measures instead. Your toenail length, method of trimming, and choice of shoes all play a part in contributing to ingrown toenails. 


Toenail Length


The length of your toenails is a major factor that causes your toenails to be ingrown. It may be tempting to cut your toenails fairly short in order to prolong the time you have to cut them again, but extra short toenails often become ingrown. If the nail is too short and the edge sits on top of your toe, then the corners are more susceptible to being pressed into your toe. 

The best length to maintain for your toenails is to keep them in line with the tip of your toe. This way the corners are not poking into your skin and the nail isn’t long enough to snag or be in the way of shoes or objects. 


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Trimming Method


Most people instinctively want to trim their toenails to follow the curve of their toe, but by doing so this causes the nail to grow inwardly. If the corners of the toenail are curved onto the top of your toe, then they will naturally curve to the point of piercing the skin. 

Instead, do the best you can to cut your nails in a straight line. Use larger toenail clippers rather than scissors or small fingernail clippers. If your nails are tough, then cut them after a hot shower to soften them up prior to trimming.


Choice of Shoes


Not only is it uncomfortable to wear shoes that are too tight, but the extra pressure on your toes can cause the nails to start growing downwardly overtime. This extra pressure will be especially painful once your toenail has broken into the flesh of your toe.

Similarly, wearing shoes that are too big will affect your nails as well. The extra space will allow for your feet to slide to the toe of your shoe as you walk, which will cause jamming to happen–particularly on your big toes. At the time of putting on too-small or too-big shoes, it doesn’t seem like too big of a deal to endure temporary discomfort for the day. However, by doing so, you are risking a long-term pain from ingrown toenails.

In addition to these precautionary steps, sweaty feet can also make your toes more vulnerable to ingrown toenails. The moisture softens up your toes which causes tenderness and increases the chance of your nail piercing through them. Stick to breathable shoes and socks to avoid excess sweat. 

By trimming your nails correctly and to the right length, along with wearing the right shoes, you can better prevent ingrown toenails. If your ingrown toenails persist, or if they become severely inflamed, then reach out to the professionals at Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic.

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