An ingrown toenail can be uncomfortable causing swelling, redness and has the potential to become infected. If you have an ingrown toenail, it is best to treat it immediately to reduce discomfort and allow the toe to heal quickly. People who have reduced circulation due to diabetes or other conditions are more prone to ingrown toenails. It is important to take care of your feet on a regular basis to prevent any complications, and consult with your podiatry office in West Milford, NJ if you have any questions.

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Recognizing an Ingrown Toenail

You will most commonly find that the toe that develops ingrown nails is the big toe. You can tell you have an ingrown toenail if the edge of your nail grows into or under the skin. This can happen along the sides, corner or top of the nail. Ingrown toenails cause the toe to become red and/or swollen. If you are not sure if you have an ingrown toenail, call your podiatrist in West Milford, NJ to describe your symptoms.

How Do Ingrown Toenails Occur?

While it is possible for anyone to develop an ingrown toenail, there are a few circumstances that may lead to them:

  • Cutting nails too short
  • Wearing shoes that crowd your toes
  • Injury to your toe and/or toenail
  • Having curved toenails

What to Do If You Have an Ingrown Toenail

Home remedies for ingrown toenails may work especially well if you treat the nail as soon as you realize it has penetrated the skin. Your West Milford, NJ podiatry office recommends the following home treatments:

  • Soaking your foot in warm water 3 to 4 times a day to reduce tenderness in the skin.
  • Using topical antibiotic cream on the affected area to prevent infection.
  • Wearing loose or open-toed shoes until your toe is healed.

If these home treatments do not cure your ingrown toenail within a few days, make an appointment with your podiatrist in West Milford. Early treatment can alleviate any discomfort and your toe will heal quickly. Your doctor may treat your toe in one of several ways:

  • Trimming or removing the part of the nail that is embedded in the skin to allow the skin to heal.
  • For someone who has repeated problems with the same toe, removing part of the nail and surrounding tissue.
  • Treating the affected areas with topical antibiotic cream.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

Keeping feet clean and washing them thoroughly when they get dirty will allow you to examine your feet daily. If you have poor circulation in your feet, regular exercise and massage will help improve it. Regular pedicures to keep your nails in good condition will maintain your toenails at an optimal length. And wearing comfortable shoes that do not squeeze your toes will also help.