Here in the desert, sandal season is year round. Don’t allow an ingrown toenail to turn your toes unsightly so that you feel embarrassed to let your feet show. With proper foot care techniques you can usually avoid an ingrown nail. Just remember to always take the extra time to really make sure you’re doing things the right way.
Ingrown toenails are one of life’s annoyances. They can cause pain, redness, swelling, and, if left untreated, infection. Typically they are caused by poor foot care technique. When you trim your toenails always make sure that you are doing it straight across and then filing the nail down to your desired shape. Never cut in a curved fashion, or else you are setting yourself up for an ingrown nail. When you cut your nails like this it can cause the skin around the nail bed to grow over the nail. Of course, there are other less avoidable reasons, including heredity and sustaining an injury to the toe. Your ingrown nail may also be the result of another condition, such as a fungal infection or black toenail.
If you have an ingrown nail you can usually treat it at home. Soak your feet in lukewarm water for a few minutes and then gently push the skin back using a cotton ball or dental floss. This may take a few attempts to cause the nail to grow over the skin. If it doesn't work or if you think you might have an infection (redness, pain, foul odor) you should see a professional. A doctor can lift the nail and partially or completely remove the nail if it’s severe enough. If you have an infection your doctor may also prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to get rid of it. In the future, remember to wear shoes that aren’t too tight and to trim your nails in the proper way. Most ingrown nails are avoidable if precautions are taken.
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