Why do we focus on how to prevent ingrown toenail in our Powder Springs GA podiatry practice? It’s because most ingrown toenails develop because of mistakes we make at home, either with our nail care routines or with our shoe choices. Anything from a bad pedicure to a shoe that's too small or too big can create trauma in your nail. In turn, its growth can change directions. And that's when you may develop a red, swollen and painful ingrown toenail.

Want to avoid this painful problem? Just check out our top 5 tips designed to prevent ingrown toenails from every developing!

nail scissors5 Ways to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

There are no guarantees in life. But these five methods can usually keep your toenail from growing into your skin, causing pain, swelling and, often, infection.

Change the way you cut your nails.

When you trim your nails or cut kids' toenails, make sure to work in a straight line. You should never follow the curved silhouette of your toe. Now, when you use this method, the corner of your nails may remain longer than the middle portions. And that’s just fine. But, if you're having a hard time cutting your nails properly, if you have diabetes, or if you've got any condition that affects your blood flow, don't cut your nails at home or in a salon. Instead, come into the office and ask for a safe and effective nail trimming.

Cut more often, but take less each time.

We know that lots of people trim their nails very low, so that they don't have to do this chore too often. But that's a mistake. Instead,  try to aim for frequent, minor toenail trims. But how low should you ideally go when cuttng yotu nails? Allow your toe to guide you here, trying to keep those nails even with the tips of your toe. If you go any shorter, pressure from your shoes could change the direction in which your nail grows. And, when in doubt on length, err on the side of caution, making sure to leave at least a bit of white nail visible.

Check that Shoe Fit.

Get rid of those pointy-toed shoes that pinch your feet; these can impact your toenail growth. Instead, look for pairs with room in the toe box that allows you to enjoy some wiggle room. Still, you shouldn't leave yourself too much room in your shoes. If your feet can slip and slide in your shoes, they could bump into the hard edges, creating trauma and causing an ingrown toenail to develop over time. Now, that's the rule of toe for people with healthy feet. But if you have diabetes, you may be better off investing in a pair of diabetic shoes that give your nails extra protection.

Focus on Protection.

Whether at home or on the job, pick foot gear that protects your toenails from trauma. Properly protective gear will have features like steel-toes, designed to cushion your feet from impacts. Investing in a pair that's sufficient for your job requirements will help prevent ingrown toenails along with other injuries like foot or toe fractures. 

Always Take a Second Look.

It's very important to take a long, hard look at your feet. Every single day. Yes, this advice is mandatory for diabetics, but it's actually important for anyone who wants to protect their foot health. If you examine your feet, toes and nails daily, you'll notice any small changes before they become major problems. In this way, you can detect early signs of trouble and seek help before problems become more serious. Want to prevent ingrown toenails from getting infected? These are the signs and symptoms to look for, and to report to our podiatrist in Powder Springs, GA, serving patients in the Lost Mountain, Marietta, Dallas, Kennesaw, Acworth and Hiram communities, as well as patients throughout Cobb and Paulding Counties.

Ingrown Toenail Symptoms When an ingrown toenail develops, you may notice:

  • The skin around your nail turns red, especially at the nail-bed cornersfoot with ingrown toenail
  • You can't see the edges of your nail
  • Pus or drainage coming from the area around the nail
  • Swollen skin that's tender to the touch

If you see any of these symptoms on your feet, it's very likely that we've failed to prevent ingrown toenails and you've already got a problem developing.  If that's the case, what should you do? Well, first, you should never try to fix an ingrown toenail at home, on your own. Even if it looks like you can lift the edge of the ingrown toenail on your own and cut it away? Don't even try!

First of all, trimming an in-grown toenail a home will hurt. A lot. Especially if it's already infected. Plus, when you try to self-correct an ingrown nail, you can make matters worse by leaving you vulnerable to other, more serious complications. Why is that the case? Well, an ingrown toenail is very vulnerable to infection. And neither your bathroom nor your personal nail scissors are likely to be sterile. Thus, by operating on yourself at home, you dramatically increase your odds of developing a nail infection.

Treating Ingrown Toenails in Powder Springs, GA

Now you know what NOT to do if you have an ingrown toenail. So, how can you find relief for this painful condition? Make an appointment with Dr. Alvin Cowans to come into the office as soon as you notice symptoms of a nail problem.  Using numbing agents and medically sterile equipment, he can quickly correct an ingrown toenails quickly and with virtually no pain.

Of course, we can only do so if you haven't taken your treatment into your own hands, and made your condition worse. And that's why we're telling you one more time. The best way to care for your skin and nails is to follow our tips for preventing ingrown toenails. But if you still develop a problem, the next best solution is to seek immediate attention from our podiatrist. And to never try and cure your ailments on your own!

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