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How to Avoid Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are a painful problem for a lot of our patients here at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center. With this common condition, the edge of a toenail begins to grow downward, cutting into the soft skin of the toe itself. The toe becomes swollen, red, inflamed, and quite painful. If not treated, the area can become infected.

What makes ingrown toenails so common? Well, for starters, they’re often related to the way you trim your toenails. If you’re not careful, if you’re in a rush, if the clippers simply slip, or if you’re just not aware of how to properly trim your nails, it’s easy to make these mistakes:

  • You trim your nails too short.
  • You trim your nails on an angle or on a curve.

When you take care to cut your nails straight across and not too short, you can usually avoid trim-related ingrown toenails.

Other causes of ingrown toenails

Sometimes, you can’t blame an ingrown toenail on your grooming habits, blame them on:

  • Pressure from tight shoes and narrow toe boxes
  • Accident or injury
  • Complications from existing toe deformities
  • Heredity – ingrown toenails can run in the family and become a problem through no fault of

your own

When to seek professional treatment

Ingrown toenails may resolve on their own or with home treatments like soaking in Epsom salts. When they persist, make an appointment with our board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm. We can treat chronic ingrown toenails with medication and/or surgery to stop the nails from growing in the wrong direction.

Individuals with diabetes should make an appointment with us at the first sign of an ingrown toenail. Delaying treatment can lead to dangerous infections that can spread up into your foot and even down into your bones. Avoid surgery and possible toe amputation by calling us in Centreville, Virginia at (703) 996-3000. You can also contact us online.

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