Stop Ignoring Your Ingrown Toenail

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Stop Ignoring Your Ingrown Toenail

Stop Ignoring Your Ingrown Toenail

Usually affecting the big toe, ingrown toenails are a common problem where the side or corner of a toenail works its way into the soft skin alongside the nail. The issue might start suddenly with a stubbed toe or over a longer period due to shoes with crowded toe boxes. 

Your ingrown nails likely won’t clear up without treatment, and they can get much worse when you ignore the care they need. The good news is that most cases of ingrown toenails respond well to first aid you can do at home. 

When your nails don’t respond, or when the pain gets severe, our team of ingrown toenail experts at Hudson Valley Foot Associates can get you on the right footing again. 

Signs of ingrown toenails

It’s usually easy to recognize when an ingrown toenail becomes a problem. At first, you might feel discomfort that’s usually on the outside of either big toe. Tenderness develops into pain and the skin around the area turns red and inflamed. Swelling is common too, and you may notice white areas where pus collects after infection sets in. 

You can begin preemptive treatment at the earliest signs of an ingrown nail, preventing the progression that leads to infection. While the big toe is the most common place for an ingrown nail to occur, any toe could potentially be infected. 

Ingrown toenails usually don’t heal on their own, so ignoring the problem will likely lead to more pain and infection. If you have a condition like diabetes or neuropathy affecting your feet, wounds and infections from ingrown nails could have serious consequences.

Preventing ingrown toenails

The best way around treating ingrown nails is to avoid them altogether. Things you can do to avoid ingrown toenails include: 

  • Keep your feet clean and dry: Moist feet soften the skin along toenail edges
  • Don’t tear your toenails: Use a nail trimmer, even when a toenail breaks
  • Trim toenails in a straight line, not too short: Purchase straight clippers if needed
  • Choose footwear that fits well: Shoes and socks of the wrong size can add pressure to your feet, causing ingrown nails

Use caution when you choose to go barefoot to avoid unnecessary foot injuries. 

Home care for ingrown toenails

When you feel the telltale signs of an ingrown nail starting, taking prompt action can minimize your discomfort as well as reduce the chances of complications like infection or growing wounds. 

  • Soak your foot twice daily in warm water with Epsom salts or mild soap
  • Thoroughly dry your foot after soaking and keep your feet dry through the day
  • Place a small piece of cotton under the edge of the nail to encourage upward growth; change this cotton daily
  • Use an antibiotic ointment and bandage overnight and clean and dry your toe in the morning
  • Manage any pain with oral over-the-counter medications 
  • Wear roomy shoes or open-toed sandals when possible
  • Change socks as needed to keep your feet dry

If you see no improvement or if your condition gets worse despite your home care efforts, it’s time to contact Hudson Valley Foot Associates at our nearest location. Book an appointment by phone or online to gain the knowledge and experience of our foot care specialists today.