What to Do (and Not Do) for Ingrown Toenails

ingrown toenail

Few podiatric conditions inspire more fear and are more painful than the ingrown toenail. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we treat many cases of ingrown toenails in our Los Angeles County/Douglas Park area patients. Nearly every patient leaves our Long Beach office in less pain then when they arrived. The information below will help you deal with this common podiatric problem.

Prevention Pointers

Of course, the best scenario is not having an ingrown nail in the first place! Ingrown nails develop when pressure on the edge of the nail drives it into the surrounding skin. The most frequent reason this occurs? Improper nail trimming. Trim your toenails straight across and not so short that the skin overlaps the edge of the nail. Do not curve the edges when you clip or file the toenails. Other sources of ingrown nails include:

  • Fungal infections—keep feet clean and don’t allow them to sit in damp socks for extended periods of time
  • Footwear choices—avoid styles that have narrow, pointy toes and high heels that force the toes to be crammed together.
  • Toe deformities—overlapping toes, hammertoes and other deformities may increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • The tendency for nails to become ingrown can also be inherited.

Treatment Do’s and Don’ts

The first sign of an ingrown nail will most likely be pain and redness. Big toes are the most susceptible. If you notice a nail appears to be ingrown, you can soak it in warm water and Epsom salts and then try to gently massage the nail out of the skin. Never attempt to cut the ingrown nail out! If this is unsuccessful, make an appointment and come in to see our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley or Dr. Constance Ornelas. The foot doctor can numb the toe and remove the nail. Chronic or recurring ingrown nails may require a minor surgery.

Don’t delay seeking treatment. Ingrown toenails that are not care for properly can become infected. Contact us by calling: (562) 420-9800.