How do you stop ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails can be uncomfortable and painful to live with. That’s why so many people ask: how do you stop ingrown toenails? Before we can find a way to stop them, we first need to look at what causes ingrown toenails.


What causes ingrown toenails?

There are a number of things that can contribute to ingrown toenails.

  • Incorrect nail trimming, such as cutting your nails too short or cutting down the sides of your nails.
  • Tight fitting footwear.
  • Certain sports such as running, where the toes might hit the front of the shoe can damage the nail.
  • Thickened nails which might be due to a fungal infection being present.
  • A congenital nail shape where the nail is very wide or curls at the edges
  • Direct trauma to the nail, for example when you stub your toe or an object falls on it, could lead to damage of the nail and cause an ingrown toenail.
  • If you are flat footed it is possible for you to develop an ingrown toenail. More pressure is applied to the sides of the big toe. This causes continuous pressure of the nail and the surrounding soft tissue.

How do you stop ingrown toenails?

As you can see there are many possibilities to what might be causing your ingrown toenail and if we can find the causes and correct it you will be on your way to healthier toes.

There are however a few things that you can keep in mind to help prevent your nails from potentially growing in. 

When trimming your nails try to cut straight across and avoid cutting down the sides. If you are unsure of how to cut your nails correctly, speak to your podiatrist who will be happy to advise you on how to trim them correctly. Make sure your footwear is wide enough and has enough room for your toes to be able to move around. Maintain good foot hygiene to avoid fungal infections.

Wondering what’s next for you?

If you have persistent ingrown toenails it is advisable to see your podiatrist for treatment. Your podiatrist will either be able to conservatively remove the invading nail piece or in more severe cases they will suggest a minor surgical procedure. This is a partial nail avulsion and is a more permanent solution to your ingrown toenail.

Contributed by Podiatrist Cherize Vorster

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