What to Do When Stubborn, Painful Ingrown Toenails Return
An ingrown toenail is never fun, but it is something everyone may expect to suffer from at least once in their lifetime. Hopefully they will beat out the number of tax audits any of us will ever receive.
A rare ingrown toenail is often mild enough to treat at home—however, you should never hesitate to reach out to us if your ingrown nail is causing you severe pain or looks infected. Those are both cases when a professional approach should be taken.
Our focus today is more on what you should do if an ingrown toenail is a common recurrence. Having this painful nuisance continue to come back over and over—even if it’s always mild—is not normal. In the majority of cases, it’s a sign that something likely has to change.
What kind of changes might those be? Here are a few easy steps to consider and try out if ingrown toenails keep sliding into your life.
Check the Tightness of Your Shoes
Toes need room to move about comfortably, even inside a shoe. If the toe box of your footwear is too small, it may be cramming your toes together and impeding normal growth of your toenails, leading to growth in the wrong direction.
A similar situation may happen if your shoes are forcing your toes too far toward the front, smushing up against the front of your footwear.
If you don’t get much wiggle room in your shoes, try switching to a pair with a wider, freer toe box. If you’re looking for shoes that have such benefits and more, don’t forget that we have our own shoe store located at our office.
Make Sure You’re Trimming Your Nails Properly
If you are trimming your toenails with curves at the edges, it may encourage those areas to become ingrown. You might also risk damage to your nail bed, which can also lead to improper growth.
Before you even start trimming your nails, make sure you’re using the right kind of clipper. One of the wider varieties designed for toenails will require fewer clips across the nail to accomplish the job than a fingernail clipper, which can reduce the chances of jaggedness and damage.
Cut your toenails straight across, with little-to-no curving at the edges. Make sure to leave a bit of white edge at the front, however. Cutting too closely may lead to pain and injury.
If your toenails are a bit thick and stubborn, try reserving to clip them until after you come out of the shower. On the other hand, if your nails are already easy to trim while dry, do not trim them right after a shower. At that point they may be exceedingly soft and more likely to tear, causing those injuries that might contribute to ingrown nails.
Keep Your Toes Safe from Trauma
A haphazardly wielded pair of clippers is not the only form of injury that can befall toenails. It pays to be careful with other potential sources of damage, too.
Anything that causes trauma to a nail—from turning bruised to black to outright falling off—can cause problems when the nail begins to regrow.
Remembering to protect your feet can be a significant help in avoiding that kind of trauma. That means wearing sturdy, protective boots or shoes when needed (or at least not wearing sandals while helping your friend move their couch).
If you are regularly active, and especially a runner, make sure your feet are not sliding around too much in your footwear. That can lead your toes to repeatedly strike the front of your shoe, resulting in a dreadful “black toenail”. Your nail will likely fall off after that (just ask any committed runner friends if you’re not one yourself) and potentially return ingrown.
But if all of the above doesn’t really help your ingrown toenail problem, there’s always another possibility to consider…
You May Just Have Been Born This Way
Some people are genetically predetermined to have toenails that curve inward as they grow. If this is your fate, then changes in footwear or trimming will likely have little effect at stopping the march of your toenails.
However, this does not mean nothing can be done to help you. At points when ingrown toenails keep recurring and conservative measures don’t have an effect, surgery can be considered as a means of providing a permanent solution.
An ingrown toenail surgery is a simple procedure conducted under local anesthesia. Part or all of a nail is removed to bring relief. Then, in many cases, the underlying nail bed is treated with a chemical to prevent new nail tissue from growing back.
Put a Stop to Persistent Ingrown Toenails
If an ingrown toenail is a constant source of trouble, just treating them is not enough. It’s time to take greater action.
We encourage you to try the measures above. If they don’t do the trick, however, then it’s time to give Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper a call at (812) 481-7200. We can bring you in to get to the source of the problem and recommend the best course of action for lasting relief.
And anytime you have other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can give us a call or fill out our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.