If you've dealt with the unmistakable discomfort of an ingrown toenail, you've likely wondered if it will come back after it's been treated. While toenails can become ingrown again, your podiatrist in Needham, MA, Dr. Michael Mitry, has provided some tips for his patients on how to prevent a recurrence of ingrown toenails.
How do ingrown toenails happen?
Ingrown toenails are the result of interference with the growth pattern in the nail - most commonly the big toe - that causes the edge to begin pushing into the skin surrounding it. If the nail creates a wound in the skin, bacteria can cause an infection to develop, leading to pain, swelling and redness. Podiatrists like Dr. Mitry often identify improper trimming techniques as the cause of ingrown toenails, although ill-fitting socks and shoes, as well as trauma, can be the culprits as well.
How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?
While a few people are unlucky enough to have anatomical problems with their nails, your Needham podiatrist has several recommendations that will usually help prevent ingrowth in the future. Clipping the nails straight across (instead of curving them) is the main precaution; if you go to salons for pedicures, make sure the technician is licensed, experienced and knows the proper way to trim nails. It's also important to wear socks and shoes that give you plenty of "wiggle room" in the toe area.
Can I treat my ingrown toenail at home?
If you feel an ingrown nail starting to develop, try soaking your feet in a hot bath with Epsom salts to soften the skin and reduce inflammation. Applying an antibiotic ointment and wrapping the toe with a bandage may be enough to stop the problem from getting worse. However, if the nail area becomes reddened, swollen or begins bleeding or oozing, it's very important to see your Needham podiatrist right away.
If you have any further questions or need to make an appointment with Dr. Mitry, contact Advanced Podiatry of Needham. We'd be glad to help you out.