Dr. Gerald Paul in Bloomington, IL, can provide patients struggling with ingrown toenails. Your McLean County Foot and Ankle podiatrist can tell you more about foot care:
Ingrown toenails are when nails dig into your toes, especially the big toe. This causes infections which may require medical treatment. If you suffer from diabetes, the risk for complications increases, including poor circulation. Ingrown toenails are caused by:
- improper nail trimming, make sure you trim straight across the toenail
- shoe pressure, make sure shoes are slightly longer so toes have enough wiggle room
- injury, which may be a result of stubbing your toe against something, for example
- fungus infection, which may cause cracked, thickened, or yellowed nails
- heredity (poor foot structure)
If your toe becomes infected and is always in pain, you need to contact your Bloomington podiatrist. He'll need to remove the ingrown portion of the nail, and if the condition reoccurs, your podiatrist may need to permanently remove the nail.
There are several ways to prevent ingrown toenails, like cutting toenails incorrectly. You need to make sure you cut straight across because angles, irregular-shaped or curved toenails, encourage nails to grow into the skin. Also, put some effort into choosing the proper footwear. Avoid shoes that place a lot of pressure on big toes, so narrow shoes, and socks and stockings that are too tight. The last suggestion to avoid ingrown toenails, maintain proper foot hygiene, like keeping your feet clean and dry.
If you do end up having an ingrown toenail, you don't have to jump the gun and assume you need surgery. There are several home remedies:
- Soaking your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day and dry well after each soak.
- Manually push skin away from the edge of the toenail with an olive oil-soaked cotton ball.
- Use over-the-counter medicines, like acetaminophen to relieve pain.
- Apply topical antibiotic, such as polymyxin or a steroid cream, to prevent infection.
If you have any questions about ingrown toenails, make sure you contact Dr. Gerald Paul in Bloomington, IL.