Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or side of a toenail begins growing into the flesh found to the side of it. Common symptoms include redness and tenderness in the area. If your ingrown toenail becomes infected, it may feel hot and you may notice some swelling and pus in the area. Some cases of ingrown toenails are rather minor, while others are more concerning. If you follow these dos and don'ts when dealing with this issue, you should be in good shape.
Do: See your podiatrist if you are a diabetic who develops ingrown toenails.
If you are a diabetic, ingrown toenails are more of a concern for you than for the general population. This is because the poor circulation many diabetics develop in their extremities can make any infection that occurs in the toe very dangerous. Your podiatrist will be able to safely treat the ingrown toenail with a surgical procedure and antibiotics to prevent infection.
Do: Keep the area clean to prevent infection.
As long as you can keep them from becoming infected, ingrown toenails tend to be more of a nuisance than a serious concern. You can reduce your risk of infection by changing your socks every day, washing your feet carefully with an antibacterial soap, and soaking your feet in an Epsom salts bath a couple of times per week. When you can go barefoot, do so. The warm, moist environment created when you wear socks is more appealing to bacteria.
Don't: Try to dig out the ingrown toenails yourself.
Doing so will increase your risk of infection. Just trim your nails straight across, using nail clippers that you have sanitized by wiping them with rubbing alcohol. In time, the ingrown nail will probably correct itself. If you feel that it is becoming worse instead of better, a podiatrist can safely trim it for you.
Don't: Keep wearing shoes that place pressure on the ingrown toenail.
Often, ingrown nails result, at least in part, from wearing shoes that place too much pressure on that particular nail. Go through your shoe collection, and identify any that seem to put pressure on the ingrown nail (heels are often to blame). Wear only comfortably fitting shoes with a wide toe box until you are sure your ingrown nails are completely healed.
If you follow the tips above, you should be able to safely deal with your ingrown nails. For more information, contact Camden County Foot & Ankle Center or a similar location.