Taking Care of Your Ingrown Nail This Winter

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Pain, swelling, redness in your big toe nail? You may be experiencing symptoms from an ingrown toenail. One of the more common conditions seen in feet, ingrown toenails can cause variable discomfort over time and sometimes may even lead to infection. Individuals with poor blood circulation in their feet, and/or diabetes can face greater complications of ingrown toenails. Typically, ingrown toenails can be taken care of at home, however, if the pain spreads or persists a podiatrist should be consulted to remedy the issue.

Ingrown toenails can be caused by: improperly trimmed nails, abnormal nail structure, genetics, tight fitting shoes, and repeated trauma to the nail. Nails can grow abnormally from improper nail trimming or compression, resulting in the sides of the nails digging into soft tissue. Nail damage from repetitive activities, such as soccer and running, can result in a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail. During the winter season, closed shoes can aggravate this problem.

Home Ingrown Toenail Prevention Methods:

Individuals with diabetes and active painful ingrown nail should seek treatment from a podiatrist instead of self-treatment.

  • Wear proper shoe size to prevent constriction, until condition clears up.
  • Wear sandals instead of shoes for several days to reduce pressure on the affected area.
  • Trim your nails straight as they grow. Avoid digging for the painful ingrown in the corner. This can aggravate the surrounding tissue and leave a spicule or a spike that can worsen the situation.
  • Cleaning the foot near, including the area of the ingrown toenail. The foot can also be soaked in warm water multiple times a day.

In cases of prolonged and/or worsening pain, infection, swelling, or inflammation, a podiatrist should be consulted immediately. Podiatrists treat ingrown nails differently based on the severity of the ingrowth. Podiatrist may trim portions of less severe ingrown nails, or remove the nail in more severe cases. In cases of partial removal of ingrown nails a topical medication can be prescribed to help prevent infection. Treating ingrown toenails quickly can help prevent unnecessary discomfort, and decrease the risk of developing further complications. Prevention through proper nail trimming, wearing well-fitting shoes, and general foot care is the best way to avoid developing ingrown toenails.

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