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Recognizing and Preventing Ingrown Toenails

Most people don’t notice ingrown toenails right away. Since ingrown toenails are often painful, many people simply assume that the pain is due to a stubbed or injured toe. But when left unattended, ingrown nails can become worse; often turning swollen and red, or becoming infected.

As the name suggests, ingrown toenails are nails that grow into the toe. This leads to irritation, and sometimes infection –thanks to the bacteria around the feet.

Ingrown toenails can develop quickly. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is lack of proper toenail trimming. Nails that are cut too short allow the skin to cover the corners of the nail and create a path for the nail to grow into the toe. Other causes include:

  • Poor fitting shoes
  • Ripping nails, instead of cutting
  • Toe injuries
  • Repeated kicking activities –such as soccer

If you catch an ingrown toenail soon enough, you may be able to treat it at home. Home treatment should only be done if the nail has not become infected. Should the condition persist or become worse you should contact a podiatrist. While it may seem like overkill to visit the doctor over something as simple as a toenail, it is important to get the problem taken care of as quickly as possible. Ingrown toenails can become serious and can lead to infection. If you notice any signs of infection be sure to visit your podiatrist as soon as possible.

Finally, prevention is key when it comes to ingrown toenails. Here are a few tips to help prevent ingrown toenails.

  • Try to give your feet enough wiggle room in your shoes; don’t cramp your toes together.
  • Cut your toenails straight across and avoid curving them.
  • Never rip your toenails off, always cut them.
  • Avoid cutting toenails down too far.
  • And finally, protect your toes –avoid dropping heavy objects on them or stubbing them (as fun as that may be!).

For more information on ingrown toenail treatment in Houston, Texas, contact Dr. Anthony Lamarra of Shepherd Square Podiatry.

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