Prevention Techniques to Ensure Toenail Health
Ingrown toenails occur when the nail grows into the surrounding skin, this causes the area to become red and inflamed. It can sometimes be quite painful and in serious cases the area can become infected and can excrete pus. There are several easy ways to avoid ingrown toenails which can be done in the comfort of your own home. You can apply these if you think you are at risk of developing an ingrown toenail or if you just want to practise good foot health.
Wearing the Right Shoes
More often than not, ingrown toenails are caused by tight and ill-fitting shoes. Badly fitting shoes put pressure on the toes and squeeze them together. Pointed shoes are a particular culprit as they push the toes into an unnatural position. This causes the nail to pierce and grow down into the skin instead of in the correct direction. In order to prevent an ingrown toenail occurring it is essential to wear shoes that fit properly. It’s a good idea to get your feet measured to find out exactly what size you are, this way you will always wear the right sized shoes.
A good tip for shopping for shoes is to do it in the afternoon. This is because your feet swell a little during the day, if you shop for footwear first thing in the morning your feet will be at their smallest and you may buy a pair that won’t fit once the feet have swelled up. Trying on shoes in the afternoon means that your feet will be at their largest, ensuring that the shoe that fits will not squeeze your feet later on.
It is important to trim your toenails in order to prevent an ingrown toenail occurring, but it is even more important to trim them the right way. The chances of developing an ingrown toenail are increased by bad trimming technique. For example, some people cut them too short which allows the skin to start to form over them, then the nail grows into the skin. This can also happen if the sides of the nails are cut.
To trim your toe nails correctly, all you need to do is cut them straight across. It’s very easy and ensures that the nails will grow in the right direction.
It’s a good idea to cut your nails after you have had a bath or a shower as the nail will be soft and supple, making it easier to trim.
It’s important to keep your feet clean to avoid a number of foot conditions, but it’s especially important to avoid ingrown toenails. Hot, unclean feet can become sweaty which makes the skin around the toenails soft. This makes it easier for the nail to pierce the skin and for an ingrown toenail to form. Also, if you don’t keep feet clean then you could develop an infection in the ingrown toenail.
It’s important to wash your feet every day. Make sure you also dry them thoroughly and then apply foot moisturising cream to keep the skin supple and strong. This will not only reduce the risk of developing an ingrown toenail but also the risk of infection.
There’s no use cleaning your feet and then putting the same pair of sweaty socks on that you’ve been wearing all day. Make sure that you change socks every day too and, if possible, wear socks that are made from breathable material so your feet don’t become too sweaty.
Manipulating the Skin
If you think you may be in danger of developing an ingrown toenail, or if you just want to avoid one, try pushing the skin of your toe away from the nail. Make sure you do this very carefully using a clean cotton bud. This should help the nail to avoid the skin and not allow the skin to form over it. Using olive oil also helps, apply it to the cotton bud then gently push at the skin.