Ingrown toenails aren’t exactly the most appetising of topics, but hey, they happen.
And the good news is, they’re totally treatable and there are practices you can put in place to avoid them occurring in the future…
What causes ingrown toenails?
While some people are simply unlucky when it comes to the natural or inherited shape of the toenails, most causes of ingrown toenails are avoidable.
“Incorrect toenail care such as picking or pulling and cutting nails too short is one of the main causes”, says Matthew Butters, Podiatrist BSc (Hons) Pod, DPodM, MSCh, SRCh of Colne Valley Chiropody.
Trauma and tight footwear can also be culprits.
How can you tell if you have an ingrown toenail?
If you’ve never had an ingrown toenail before, Butters says the “pain, swelling, heat and redness” are the signs to be aware of.
Can you fix an ingrown toenail at home?
Unfortunately, once you have an ingrown toenail, there isn’t anything you can do yourself.
“You need to see a podiatrist for expert treatment and management”, says Butters. “If there are signs of bacterial infection then a course of antibiotics may be required but your podiatrist will advise you.”
Proper cutting and filing tips:
To avoid ingrown toenails, simply follow the natural curve and shape of the nail when trimming.
“Cut them so that the edge reaches the tip of the toe”, says Butters. “And don’t cut them too short and DO NOT pick down the sides.”
He also recommends using Nail Nippers (£28) over clippers or scissors. It has a concave blade for precise and careful trimming.
When it comes to filing, Butters recommends keeping movements little and in one direction, away from yourself.
“Filing keeps the length and thickness at a manageable level and means you have to cut them less often.”
How else can ingrown toenails be avoided?
Avoiding tight footwear and not cutting your nails too short is your best bet to prevent ingrown toenails.
But if you’re experiencing them time and time again, Butters says “the long-term treatment would be either total avulsion (removal of the whole nail) or partial avulsion (removal of the sides of the nail) under local anaesthetic by a qualified podiatrist.”