Ingrown toenails can be a pain, and if you don’t take preventative steps, they can keep returning even after you’ve taken care of the problem. So how can you keep ingrown toenails from coming back? To best do that, you have to know what causes ingrown toenails to develop. Once you know the causes, you can take preventative measures. So today, we’re going to take a look at the three most common causes of ingrown toenails, and we’re going to share how you can keep your toenails growing correctly.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
There are four common causes of ingrown toenails, but one of them is genetics, and since you can’t really do anything about your genes, we’ve left it off the list. Here’s a look at the other three preventable causes of ingrown toenails.
Improper Shoes – If your shoes are ill-fitting, you’re at an increased risk for an ingrown toenail. This is especially true if your shoes are too tight in the toe box, as this causes our feet to become contorted, and it puts abnormal pressure on our toes. This is even more evident in athletes, especially soccer and football players who generally like to have a tighter-fitting shoes. When picking out shoes, have a professional fit the shoe to your foot. If you have to make the decision between a shoe that’s a little too tight or a little too loose, opt for the looser fitting pair to help keep abnormal pressure off your feet and to aid in circulation.
Poorly Cut Toenails – A second common cause of an ingrown toenail stems from a poorly trimmed toenail. When cutting their nails, a lot of people tend to round off the edges because the rounded appearance matches with the rounded appearance of their toe, but that can cause the edges of the nail to grow back in the wrong direction. If you cut them too low on the sides, they can start to press into the side of your toe and become ingrown. Even though it might make for a more pleasant appearance, avoid rounding off the nail edges. Cut your nails straight across and you’ll reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail.
Acute Injury – Trauma to the foot isn’t as easy to prevent as the above two points, but there are still some precautions that can be made. Wear protective footwear when you’re going to be on rough terrain or when you’re participating in athletic activity, and be sure to wear steel-toe or other hazard-prevention shoes when at the job site or while working with heavy materials. If you do suffer an injury to your toe, give it some rest and let it breathe. If the toenail is damaged or discolored, don’t try to peel it off. It may break off naturally, but don’t rush to pull it off because it can allow bacteria in and it can grow back at an odd angle.
For more information on caring for ingrown toenails, or if you have a question you’d like to ask Dr. Silverman, you can do so in the box below.