red and irritated ingrown toenail | Maryland PodiatristsYour feet bear the brunt of your body weight all day and provide a solid foundation to stand on. So when something causes you pain and discomfort in your feet, you feel it big-time. Ingrown toenails are one of the most common conditions that may have you searching for quick relief. Our board-certified podiatrists offer the following overview on how to treat and prevent ingrown toenails.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the nail on your toe grows into the side of your toe. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness along the side of your toe
  • Redness
  • Swelling

If not taken care of, ingrown toenails can become infected. There are many causes of this condition, some you can control, and some you can’t. Common causes of ingrown toenails are:

  • Genetics
  • Shoes that don’t fit right
  • Trauma to your toes
  • Pedicures
  • Improper trimming of your nails

Ingrown toenails can also be caused by medical conditions such as diabetes. Diabetes can cause poor circulation to your legs and feet, sometimes making you unaware of injuries or pain from an ingrown toenail.

Treatment Options for Ingrown Toenails 

Regardless of the cause, if you’re suffering from an ingrown toenail, you want immediate relief. You can do some things at home to help ease the pain. Home remedies include:

  • Soak your feet in warm water
  • Use Epsom salts in a soak
  • Try to remove it yourself as long as it’s not infected
  • Apply antibiotic ointment 

If your ingrown toenail doesn’t get better with home treatment, or you notice signs of infection, make an appointment with one of the experts at Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center. They can help wipe out your infection and offer permanent treatment of recurring ingrown nails.

Your podiatrist will remove the edge of the nail that continues to grow incorrectly. This is called a matrixectomy, and can be done right in our office. When you’ve been dealing with pain and discomfort, this may be the perfect solution.

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

You don’t have to just hope that your ingrown nails won’t come back, even with treatment. There are some things you can do to help prevent ingrown toenails from reoccurring. Here are a few prevention tips to follow:

  • Avoid cutting your nails too short
  • When trimming, cut your nails straight across
  • Try to avoid any injuries to the toes
  • Make sure your shoes fit properly

Following these simple tips will significantly decrease your ingrown toenail from returning.