Ingrown toenails can be quite painful and if they are not treated, an infection could develop. Infection can lead to additional problems so it is important to treat the affected toenail right away. Ingrown toenails can often be treated at home with the right methods. If at-home care is ineffective, the skilled doctors at Kentucky/Indiana Foot and Ankle Specialists in Louisville, KY can treat your ingrown toenails. In addition to several locations in Louisville, we also have offices in Indiana and other areas of Kentucky.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
When a toenail grows too close to the skin it can press against the skin and cause inflammation and discomfort. This is referred to as an ingrown toenail. Ingrown nails develop on the big toes most often.
Several factors can cause the nail to grow too close to the skin. Common causes include:
- An injury to the toes or feet
- A fungal infection on the toes or feet
- Wearing shoes or socks that are too tight
- Trimming the toenails too short or too close to the skin
- Curving or angling the nails rather than trimming them straight across
It is possible to treat ingrown toenails with at-home care. With the right treatment methods, you can ease the pain and discomfort of an ingrown nail and prevent infection from setting in. Tips for at-home care of ingrown toenails include:
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers for pain or discomfort
- Apply anti-fungal or antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
- Soak the feet in warm water several times a day to soften the nail so it can be trimmed away from the skin
- Massage the toenail while soaking in water to reduce inflammation
- Place cotton or waxed dental floss beneath the ingrown nail after soaking to help the nail grow above the skin
- Wear sandals or loose-fitting socks and shoes until the nail heals
At-home care can be extremely effective in alleviating pain and discomfort and helping the nail to grow away from the skin. However, it is best to contact one of our offices in Louisville for help treating your ingrown toenails if inflammation and pain persist or an infection develops. Sometimes professional intervention is needed to completely resolve the problem.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Certain steps can be taken to prevent ingrown toenails from returning again down the road. Toenails should always be trimmed straight across and never too short. Cutting the nails too close to the skin can cause them to become ingrown. Wearing shoes and socks that are not too tight can also prevent ingrown nails from developing. Additionally, keeping the feet clean and dry is an effective way to prevent fungal infections that can lead to ingrown toenails.
You can care for ingrown toenails at home but should seek professional treatment if pain and inflammation persist. For the treatment of ingrown toenails, call Kentucky/Indiana Foot and Ankle Specialists in Louisville at 1-844-MY2-FEET (1-844-692-3338). We have several locations throughout Louisville and other areas of Kentucky, including Elizabethtown, Bardstown, and Bowling Green, as well as an office in New Albany, IN.