Do you never want to hear the words "ingrown toenail" again? Dr. William Sachs, our Toms River and Shrewsbury, NJ, foot doctor at Adult & Child Footcare, explains what causes ingrown toenails and explains what you can do to prevent and treat them.
Why ingrown toenails occur
Ingrown toenails happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Tight Shoes: Any type of shoes that are very narrow or tight, including high heels, ballet slippers and soccer shoes, can increase pressure on your toenails and drive them into the skin.
- Restrictive Socks: Tight shoes aren't the only cause of ingrown toenails. Socks that don't allow enough room for your toes to move freely can also cause the condition.
- Toe Injuries: Any toe injury, including stubbing your toe, may increase your ingrown toenail risk.
- Improper Nail Cutting: Do you cut your toenails in a straight line or round them? Rounding the nails make it easier for the nails to grow into the skin.
- Curved Nails: If your nails are naturally very curvy, it may be difficult avoid ingrown toenails.
- Toenail Fungus: Fungus doesn't just turn your toenails yellow, but may also cause them to thicken and become ingrown.
Treating ingrown toenails
In some cases, it may be possible to free an ingrown toenail at home. If the nail has only just begun to grow into the skin, try these steps:
- Soak your foot in warm water for 15 or 20 minutes.
- Slide dental floss or a thin piece of cotton under the nail to lift it from the skin.
If the nail doesn't move, leave it alone and make an appointment with our Toms River or Shrewsbury offices. Don't attempt to free a trapped nail yourself if you have diabetes or notice any signs of infection, such as swelling, redness or red streaks, or pus around the nail. Prompt medical treatment is needed to prevent infected toenails from worsening.
During your office visit, we will painlessly remove your ingrown nail and apply a topical antibiotic.
Concerned about an ingrown toenail? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Sachs, foot doctor at Adult & Child Footcare by calling (732) 255-7070 for the Toms River, NJ, office and (732) 389-2555 for the Shrewsbury, NJ, office.