When you have an ingrown toe nail even putting on your shoe can become an exercise in extreme pain. An ingrown toe nail occurs when the edge of the toe nail penetrates the skin surrounding it (it hurts just to say that). In essence, the nail begins to grow beneath the surface of the skin. (Note: I was going to add a picture of an ingrown toenail, but they all gave me the creeps and I didn’t want to scare anyone away.)
Normally, the first symptom of an ingrown toe nail is pain. The pain might be nothing more than discomfort at first. This is, usually, when the nail is beginning to penetrate the skin. If left unchecked the pain will worsen and the toe can easily become infected.
When looking at an ingrown toe nail you’ll first notice how red and swollen the toe has become (on the side of the toe where the nail is penetrating the skin) and, in some severe cases, you might see a collection of pus around the area.
Prevention is really the key to ingrown toe nail treatment. The number one cause of ingrown toe nails is improper trimming of the toe nails. Toe nails should be cut straight across so when looking at the nail the surface appears level.
Many people routinely cut their toe nails in the shape of an arc (stop doing this). They curve the edges in a downward fashion for appearance sake. Although this may look more attractive it can often result in an ingrown toe nail, and that’s not attractive.
The toe nail will begin to grow in the shape it was cut. If it’s cut on an angle it will grow towards the skin. If not trimmed regularly, it will pierce the surface of the skin and cause an infection.
There are effective ingrown toe nail treatments. If you do discover that you have an ingrown toe nail it’s wise to consult with a doctor. If it’s severe you may be referred to a podiatrist. A podiatrist (foot doctor) knows how to remove the offending part of toe nail in such a way with the little risk of further infection.
You may also be required to take antibiotics. Even though it’s only a toe, the risk of the infection spreading is high and it needs to be curbed before it becomes more serious. You may also have to wear a sterile dressing on the toe in order for it to heal.
Ingrown toe nails can be prevented and it’s wise to take the time needed to cut your nails the proper way. Straight across and not too short when cutting toe nails is the best advice you can follow. If you do happen to break a toe nail in a way that may result in it becoming ingrown, keep an eye on it and consult with a doctor when you first notice it irritating you.
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