Recognizing and Treating Ingrown Toenails

Understanding the root cause of a problem – and an ingrown toenail definitely qualifies as a problem – is key to not only being able to resolve it, but also prevent it from happening in the first place.

And if you are suffering from painful ingrown toenails, you’ve come to right place! In this blog, we will focus on why this problem can develop, signs you should recognize, and recap some ingrown toenail prevention measures you can take. Hopefully, this information will give you the necessary tools to avoid ingrown toenails in the first place.

But before we dive into this, here’s something you should keep in mind:

If basic at-home treatments are not providing the relief you need, come visit our office right away. It may be the case that other underlying causes are at play, like abnormal foot structure – and your nails will continue to become ingrown if you don’t fully address these underlying factors as well.

The good news is, regardless of what is causing your toenails to go wayward, we can help you put an end to your discomfort!

It all starts with finding the culprit.


Know What Causes Ingrown Toenails

There are a couple of possible factors that may be contributing to your toenails becoming ingrown. Depending on your specific case, it may have been a matter of:

  • How you trim your nails. Sometimes, toenails become ingrown when they are clipped too short and/or are rounded off in the corners.
  • The shoes you wear. There are many reasons why you and your loved ones should have footwear that actually fits correctly – and this is one of them. Some cases of ingrown toenails are caused by shoes that are too tight in the front.
  • Physical trauma. No matter if the trauma comes from something heavy being dropped on a foot or when a toe is stubbed with excessive force, one possible outcome is an ingrown toenail.
  • Unfortunately, an inherited nail or foot structure can come into play, especially if a toenail is excessively curved.

Now, if you consider the above factors, you likely will understand how this is a problem that can happen to virtually anyone. In fact, sometimes even infants as young as two months old can have ingrown nails!

With that in mind, you may be asking yourself how you can recognize early signs of ingrown toenails – and we are glad you asked!

Know the Early Signs of Ingrown Toenails

When it comes to symptoms of ingrown toenails, the most common – and obvious – starting point is when the nail starts growing into the skin surrounding it. This usually comes with a certain degree of discomfort and pain.

However, if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, your ingrown toenail may not present any discomfort at all. This certainly does not mean you should simply ignore the problem – in fact, if you have neuropathy or diabetes, the best thing to do is come to our office for professional treatment as soon as possible. Even something as minor as an ingrown toenail can pose serious complications to your lower limbs.

Aside from pain and discomfort, the area will typically become red, swollen, and tender to the touch. If the area becomes infected, you may also notice pus and spreading redness – at this point, it is essential for you to see us ASAP, especially if you have diabetes.

We can provide the relief you need (in some cases almost immediately following treatment at our office), and help you prevent this frustrating problem from returning. Which takes us to our next point …

Know How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

If your ingrown toenails are caused by something other than genetics, the following measures will likely lower your risk of developing this problem in the future:

  • Trim your toenails the right way. The best way to trim your toenails is straight across and at an appropriate length (which is roughly even with the edge of the toes).
  • Wear shoes that fit properly. You want your footwear to have a snug fit, but not be excessively tight – and that is especially true in the toe box. There should be enough room for your toes to wiggle freely. There should also be about a thumb’s width between the longest toe and front of a shoe.
  • Protect your feet at work. If your job requires you to move heavy items on a frequent basis or be in an environment where there’s a high risk of things falling on your feet, you should invest in a pair of safety shoes or steel-toed work boots.

Though we certainly hope these measures are able to keep your toenails from going wayward, the bottom line is this:

If the root cause for your ingrown nail is in fact related to inherited structure, you will most likely keep having the same problem over and over again without appropriate intervention. And the best course of action will likely be to partially, or even completely, remove the offending nail.

We can do this for you at our office as a simple outpatient procedure. The process is quick, virtually painless, and requires little-to-no downtime for recovery. Even better: most patients usually experience immediate pain relief after the treatment is complete!

Get the Help You Need at Wilks Advanced Foot Care Today

Of course, there are measures you can take on your own to relieve symptoms and improve the condition, but sometimes you simply need professional care. This especially true in cases that are severe or recurrent, or when diabetes is in the picture!

So don’t wait to get the help you need. Call our Roseburg office at (541) 673-0742 to make an appointment today. Or simply fill out our online contact form, and a member of our staff will reach out to you during our regular office hours.

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