Ingrown Toenails: How to Avoid Them and How to Treat Them

One of the most common calls we receive at Balance Foot & Ankle has to do with an issue that can be minimized by slightly modifying the way you maintain your feet. That issue is the development of ingrown toenails. Today we’ll discuss self-care for ingrown toenails, how to spot them and when it’s time to see your doctor.

Ingrown Toenails: How Can I Avoid Them?

Practicing proper self-care for your toenails can prevent ingrown toenails and infections:

  • Avoid trimming the nails too short
  • Trim nails straight across rather than at an angle
  • Utilize sanitary and sharp clippers and tools
  • Wear shoes that fit properly

I Think I Have an Ingrown Toenail: Now What?

If you are experiencing the following symptoms you may be developing an ingrown toenail:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • A change in your skin pigmentation along the nail border

If you notice any of these changes, the most important first step is to avoid the temptation to remove the ingrown toenail on your own. This will help you to mitigate a worsening of symptoms or an infection. Instead, try soaking your feet in a warm Epsom salt soak for 15-20 minutes twice per day, applying a topical antibiotic ointment (covered by a Band-Aid), and be sure to call your doctor to schedule an appointment if necessary.

When Should I See a Doctor?

There may also be signs of pus, warmth or red streaking along the toe which may indicate an infection. Should home care fail to alleviate the symptoms or should symptoms worsen, you should schedule an appointment to be seen in the office at which time your doctor will assist in alleviating the symptoms, managing the infection and will discuss an in-office procedure if necessary.

As always, we are here to be sure you are well cared for!