Ingrown toenails can be extremely painful. In fact, the pain from this problem can be severe enough to make many of your daily activities difficult or impossible to do. While treating an ingrown toenail can be a fairly simple procedure, patients will often make mistakes or poor decisions that can lead to this problem worsening.
Be Aware of the Causes of Ingrown Toenails
There is a common assumption that ingrown toenails are exclusively caused by wearing shoes that do not fit correctly. However, there are many potential causes for ingrown toenails. Another particularly frequent source of this problem is a trauma to the toe, such as stubbing it or dropping a heavy object on it. Incorrectly cutting the toenails can make it more likely that toenails will become ingrown. Individuals that develop ingrown toenails on a regular basis may want to keep a journal of any care that they give to their feet, such as trimming their toenails, changing shoes, or treating injuries, as this can help determine the cause of the recurring ingrown toenails.
Keep the Toenail Clean
After developing an ingrown toenail, it is vital to keep it as clean as possible. When an ingrown toenail becomes dirty, it can be far more prone to developing potentially serious infections. One option to help with the ingrown toenail is to soak the foot several times during the day. In addition to cleaning it, this can also help with any swelling that may be occurring. After cleaning the toenail, an antibiotic ointment should be applied to help slow the growth of bacteria.
Consider Having the Toenail Surgically Corrected
Many patients will find that the only option for correcting their ingrown toenail will be surgery. While this type of podiatry surgery is simple and relatively painless, there are patients that may prefer to deal with the pain of their ingrown toenail rather than undergo this procedure. However, the ingrown toenail is likely to continue worsening. In extreme cases, the toenail may actually break through the skin along the side of the toe.
An ingrown toenail may not seem like it will be a major problem. However, this is a problem that can be painful enough to interfere with your quality of life. Furthermore, ingrown toenails will worsen over time. Patients that understand and appreciate the full range of potential causes for ingrown toenails, the need to keep the toenail clean, and that surgery may be needed to remedy this problem will be better able to correct and prevent this foot problem in the future. For more information, contact a podiatrist near you.