An ingrown toenail is a painful condition that is often caused by poor toenail cutting technique. When the sharp edge of the toenail grows into the tender skin on the side of the toe, it can cause pain, bleeding, and infection. For patients with diabetes, this can be very problematic and even lead to amputation if the infection spreads.

3 ways to help prevent ingrown toenails from occurring include the following:

  • Proper nail cutting technique — Remember to be extra careful when trimming your toenails. Strive to always trim them straight across or on just a slight curve. Even just one miscut can lead to a problem, so this can best be done at your foot doctor’s — especially if you have diabetes and need to prevent injuries and infections.
  • Properly-fitted shoes — Your footwear should have a wide toe box so your toes don’t get pushed together. People who wear high heels often have problems with ingrown toenails because of this side pressure on the toes, so dump the pumps!
  • Daily foot inspection — Give your feet a careful inspection at least once a week, and every day if you have diabetes. Catching the start of an ingrown toenail early can help avoid pain, discomfort, and other more onerous complications like amputation.

Treating ingrown toenails

If the nail has not grown very much into the tender skin on the side of the toe, you may be able to carefully lift up the edge of the nail and hold it away from your skin with a small piece of cotton or moleskin. Soaking your foot in warm water will soften the toenail and make this easier.

If you have painful ingrown toenails, see your foot doctor for the proper care. At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, Dr. Russell Samofal and Dr. Dolan Chowdhury treat a variety of conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, pediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems, and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and dedicated staff, Podiatry Center of New Jersey provides individualized high-quality care for patients all across Morris, Passaic, Bergen, and Essex counties. For all your foot and ankle problems, contact our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.