Anybody can get an ingrown toenail once or twice in a lifetime, due to an unfortunate accident or a bad pair of shoes. These instances can be very frustrating, but ultimately not too big a deal—you get them fixed, and you move on.
If ingrown toenails keep coming back again and again, however, it’s clear that something must be done. You may need to look at making a few changes to your habits, or if necessary we may need to provide a more permanent solution through a minor surgery. Read on for strategies you can employ to prevent ingrown toenails from coming back:
- Protect your feet. Stubbing your toe, dropping heavy objects on your feet, or other injuries can frequently lead to development of ingrown toenails. Always wear protective, closed-toed shoes at times when toes might be more susceptible to injury.
- Don’t crowd your toenails. Tight, restrictive shoes (think about those pointy heels!) press downward and sideways on toes and nails. This can cause nails to dig into surrounding toe flesh rather than growing out naturally.
- Trim toenails properly. Many people mistakenly believe you should cut your toenails like you do your fingernails—short and curved. However, when it comes to the toes, you should always leave a little bit of length on the nail (go about even with the toe tip) and cut straight across. This provides fewer opportunities for an ingrown nail to develop.
Unfortunately, sometimes ingrown toenails continue to return even after taking these precautions. In this case, the problem is usually genetic rather than behavioral. In other words, your nails are simply predisposed to becoming ingrown again and again.
Fortunately, there’s good news here too. When you visit our office to have your ingrown toenail removed, we can also perform a second minor procedure to eliminate part of the nail matrix as well. This means that the edge of nail we removed will never grow back, and never become ingrown again. No more pain, no more struggle, and because only a small sliver of nail needs to be removed, the cosmetic result may still be quite normal looking.
One thing you should never do when you have an ingrown toenail is ignore it. Untreated, it can become more and more painful and ultimately lead to a nasty infection. Sierra Foot & Ankle provides both conservative and surgical treatments, including a minor procedure that brings almost instant relief. To schedule your appointment in Carson City or in Gardnerville, NV, please give us a call at (775) 783-8037.