A healthy life starts with healthy feet and toes. The average person will take more than 216 million steps in their lifetime - that’s like walking around the world five times. But it’s tricky to walk around the world when you’re suffering from painful and unsightly ingrown toenails.
What Is an Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail is just what it sounds like – a nail that has grown into the surrounding skin.
Ingrown toenails are a widespread foot problem and are often very painful and unpleasant. One in five people who visit their doctor for a foot problem will have an ingrown toenail. They’re prevalent across all age groups, though most common in teenagers and young adults.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails?
Several factors can cause this painful problem:
- Ill-fitting shoes that pinch and force your toes out of position.
- Cutting your toenails improperly.
- Shoes that are too short force the nail to curl down.
- Sweaty feet.
- A particular type of inherited toenail shape.
- An injury to the toes.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
How can you try to avoid ingrown toenails?
- Learn to cut your toenails properly, not too close, and don’t round them off.
- Wear comfortably fitted shoes - squashed feet are a breeding ground for ingrown toenails.
- Try not to drop things on your toes – wear protective footwear if your job or lifestyle requires it.
Protection Against Infection
Ingrown toenails can sometimes become infected if they’re not treated. So how do you recognize an infected ingrown toenail?
- Big toes are most commonly affected (though sometimes other toes are too).
- Your toe will most likely be painful.
- It may look red and swollen.
- You may notice pus seeping out from under your toenail.
My Ingrown Toenail’s Infected – What Can I Do?
Don’t ignore an infected toenail. Infection can spread quickly to other parts of your body, leaving you feeling fatigued and unwell. And an infection can be especially dangerous if you have a weakened immune system.
If you want to try treating your infected toe at home:
- Soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes, several times a day.
- Once your skin is soft, you can try to lift the curled-down edge of the nail and place a small piece of cotton or dental floss to encourage straighter growth.
- Use an antibiotic cream on the infected area.
- Bandage the toe.
- Try to wear open-toed sandals rather than closed-in shoes.
- Make sure to change the bandage and apply more antibiotic cream regularly, especially if the old bandage gets dirty.
However, if the toenail has embedded itself into your skin, you need to get professional help. Contact our office and our experts, Dr. Chhabra and Dr. Gasparini can help you out. They can use an anesthetic if required to ease any pain while inspecting the nail. Our doctors can also issue antibiotics if necessary and will discuss treatment options that work for you – these can include lifting or removing part of the nail.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
There’s nothing to fear from ingrown toenail treatment. You can trust our skilled professionals to gently treat your ingrown toenail, and offer you actionable advice on how to avoid future problems.
Pain-free feet are essential for an active and happy life, so why put up with foot problems when you can put your feet up while we put our expertise to work?
Contact the professionals at the Foot Specialists of Long Island, and put the spring back in your step.