Pain around your big toenail is an indication of an ingrown toenail. This condition isn't life-threatening but leads to significant discomfort when walking or simply wearing shoes.
Luckily, there are prevention steps you can take to lower your chances of developing ingrown toenails. One of the best measures you can take is to learn how to cut your toenails properly.
If you're tired of the aching pain in your toes, the Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center team is here to help. Dr. David Deiboldt is our experienced podiatrist who offers a variety of treatments for ingrown toenails when you can't seem to get rid of them on your own.
You probably don't think much about your toenails until they cause a problem. Typically, your nails shouldn't be painful — except when they grow into your skin.
You often experience an ingrown toenail on your big toe, although it can happen to any of your nails. An ingrown toenail is a nail that curves down and digs into your skin.
Although you might want to trim your nails to grow with the natural curve of your toe, this is a bad idea. Tapering your toenail encourages the nail to grow into your toe's skin.
The most common sign of an ingrown toenail is pain along the sides of your toe. You may also notice some redness or swelling in the skin. Tenderness around your nail is another common symptom of an ingrown nail.
Ingrown toenails may become infected if you're not careful. Watch for signs of infection, such as extreme redness, swelling, and a foul smell or drainage from your skin.
If you notice any signs of infection, be sure to contact Dr. Deiboldt right away. Prompt treatment of an infected nail is necessary to prevent further complications.
Cutting your nails improperly is one of the leading causes of ingrown toenails. However, it's not the only reason you may have this problem.
Your shoes can lead to ingrown toenails if they don't fit properly. Wearing shoes too tight or small for your feet puts pressure on your toenails. The pressure may cause them to push down into your skin and continue growing into the soft tissues.
Trauma to your toes is another reason you may have ingrown toenails. Stubbing your toe frequently or an acute injury may damage the nail, leading to it becoming ingrown into the side of your toe.
Ingrown toenails also have a hereditary component. You may have an ingrown toenail due to genetic problems like a nail that's too big for your toe, or your skin is prone to growing around the nail. If one of your immediate family members has ingrown toenails, you're also more likely to suffer.
One of the most significant factors with ingrown toenails is how you cut and trim your nails. Dr. Deiboldt stresses the importance of adequately trimming your nails to prevent ingrown toenails from returning.
The first step in trimming your nails is to have the right tools. You should never rip or tear your toenail with your fingers. Pulling the nail causes it to curve, which leads to an ingrown nail.
Make sure you have clean nail clippers that are appropriate for your nails. Never use dirty nail clippers — clean them between every use.
Next, make sure you understand how to cut your nails. Although it's tempting to curve your nail to the shape of your toe, this isn't the correct way to cut your nail.
You want to cut your toenails straight across without rounding them at all. The straighter your cut, the more likely you will avoid an ingrown nail.
Avoid cutting your nails too short. You shouldn't cut the nail any shorter than the natural edge of your toe. Cutting your nails shorter than this encourages the nail to grow into your skin.
If you're unsure about your nail-cutting technique, Dr. Deiboldt is happy to give you instructions. When your ingrown nail continues to occur even with proper nail trimming, Dr. Deiboldt may need to intervene with alternative treatments.
If you can't seem to kick your ingrown toenails at home, don't hesitate to call our Beltsville, Maryland office at 301-804-1174 or book a consultation online today.