Ingrown Toenail Prevention
Prevention is the best cure and ensuring that the feet are treated properly will help to prevent ingrown toenails from forming in the first place. Whilst there are genetic factors involved in some cases which leaves some people more prone to develop the condition, taking some simple steps and nail maintenance routines will maximise the chances of keeping the feet and the toes in perfect health.
The choice of footwear is often a decisive factor when it comes to the formation of ingrown toenails. Shoes which place pressure on the toes and move them outside of their natural alignment are a common cause of the condition. When pressure is placed on the toes and nails it promotes the nail to become imbedded in the skin and tissue of the toe. It starts gradually and at first there will be no pain, however over time the nail can break the skin. Choosing shoes which do not cramp the toes is one of the best ways to prevent an ingrown toenail from forming. However if the shoes are too wide and the toes move within the shoe, it can be equally bad for the feet.
Ingrown toenail formation is accelerated when the toes are moist, as the skin softens making it easier for a nail to get imbedded. This could be due to sweaty feet, usually through exercise. There are many shoe designs and models which feature materials which wick away moisture to keep the feet dry. It is important after showering or washing the feet to make sure that the toes are dried properly. Often neglected, this is a common cause of moist feet which can also lead to the fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. The use of talcum powder will help to keep the feet dry and healthy.
Proper maintenance of toenails is vital to keep the condition at bay. Toenails should be cut regularly, however it is important to try to cut the toenails straight across, rather than trimming the edges and rounding them off. You should be able to see the edge of the nail and it should not be hidden by the skin of the toe. When this happens it is much easier to miss a jagged edge to a nail. Using specialised toenail clippers will help to ensure that the nails are cut properly, and it is wise never to use scissors to cut the toenails. Cutting the nails too short encourages the nail to curl round and down into the skin. You should be able to easily insert a fingernail under the toenail when they are at the right length, if this is not possible you are cutting the nails too short. Using a toenail file will help to make sure that no sharp edges are left after cutting which quickly leads to abrasions and the breaking of the skin. Filing down the edges of the nail to ensure that there are no rough edges will help to prevent the condition from occurring.
It is often difficult for some people to cut their toenails properly due to being short sighted, or not have sufficient flexibility. This is especially common with the elderly, and it is recommended to visit a chiropodist/podiatrist every couple of months to have the nails properly cut and the feet checked. If you suffer from diabetes, then cutting the toenails can be fraught with danger. Diabetics often have poor circulation and less sensitivity in the toes. As a result it is often difficult to notice the early signs of ingrown toenail formation. It is especially important to pay particular attention to the feet and toenails and regularly check for any sign of formation or infection. If in doubt, always seek advice from a professional.