An ingrown toenail is a common and painful condition of the toes. It occurs when one or both sides of the nail break grow into the skin of the toe, rather than over it. As a result, the irritated skin becomes painful, red and swollen. Fortunately, when detected early, an ingrown toenail can generally be treated effectively from home. But when left untreated, an ingrown toenail is prone to infection, as bacteria can enter your body via the penetrated skin. Professional treatment from your podiatrist is necessary to treat the infection.
Self-Care for Ingrown Toenails
Regardless of the cause, understanding how to care for an ingrown toenail can go a long way to help prevent painful infections. In its earliest stage, an ingrown toenail can generally be cared for and successfully treated from home. For non-infected nails:
- Soak your foot in warm water several times a day to relieve swelling and soreness.
- Wash and dry your foot to keep the affected area clean.
- Wear comfortable footwear with a wide toe box, or sandals when weather permits.
- Avoid cutting the nail, as this can make the condition worse.
- Over-the-counter medications may temporarily ease the pain, though they don’t heal the underlying problem.
Conservative treatments won’t always be successful. When excessive swelling, pain or discharge is present, the toenail is most likely infected and should be treated by your podiatrist. If you have diabetes or nerve damage, avoid home treatment and see your podiatrist for safe and professional care.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails is Easy
With a few simple precautions, you can easily prevent ingrown toenails.
- Wear properly fitting shoes and socks that allow for adequate toe room.
- Trim your toenails straight across, and avoid cutting them too short.
- Keep your feet clean and dry, as this prevents bacteria formation.
Ingrown toenails are a very common condition of the toes. The key to avoiding ingrown toenails is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Your podiatrist can administer treatment, such as an oral antibiotic or a minor surgical procedure, to stop the pain and remove the infection. Call today to schedule an appointment!
During the school year, your children maintain their normal school routine with frequent activities and are constantly on the go. In order to maintain their busy schedules, it is vital that their feet are protected against the aches and pains of non-stop daily activities. From infants and toddlers to high school kids, the need for continual foot relief is constant. Pain in your child’s foot or ankle is never normal, as there is no such thing as "growing pains." Your podiatrist should evaluate any pain that lasts more than a few days, or that is severe enough to limit the child’s walking, as soon as possible.
Infants and Toddlers
Whether your infant or toddler is in school or daycare, their feet need extra protection early on to promote healthy feet later on in their lives. The size and shape of your baby’s feet change dramatically during their first year. Too much pressure or strain can affect the shape of their feet as a baby’s feet are flexible. When choosing shoes for your baby make sure their shoes and socks do not squeeze the toes as this can cause damage to their precious toes.
As your infant continues to grow, it is important not to force your toddler to walk before he or she is ready to. Once your toddler does begin to walk, watch your toddler’s gait – the way in which they walk. Many toddlers may have a pigeon-toed gait, which is normal, while some initially learn to walk landing on their toes instead of their heels. Most children will outgrow both of these problems, but other conditions detected early can be treated more easily.
Proper Shoes for Your Children
Before you head to the store to buy your kids shoes, follow some simple guidelines provided by your podiatrist to prevent or minimize foot problems from poorly fitting or worn out shoes. Your child’s feet can grow up to two sizes in six months, so you need to account for growth when purchasing new shoes. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy shoes that are too big, as oversized shoes cause the foot to slide forward, putting excessive pressure on the toes. A well-fitting shoe has about a finger’s width from the end of the shoe to the tip of the big toe. If your child’s shoes are too tight, they can cause blisters, corns, calluses, or ingrown nails that become can become infected.
Shoes will lose their shock absorption over time, so it is important to inspect new and old shoes for proper cushioning and arch support. If your child’s shoes exhibit wear and tear around the edges of the sole, replace them with new shoes that have adequate support. When buying new shoes, check to see that the toe box flexes easily and the shoe does not bend in the middle of the sole. Worn-out shoes elevate the risk for heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and even ankle sprains – be sure to replace then as soon as possible.
Remember to check your child’s shoe size often, as they will continually change shoe sizes as they grow. With your podiatrist’s care, the risk of bone problems can be reduced. Contact your podiatrist today if your child is experiencing any pain in their feet due to injury or abnormal growth.
- Walking barefoot in wet public areas. Walking without shoes in swimming pools, showers or gyms can increase your chances of a fungal infection.
- Sweating heavily. If your feet are constantly sweaty, fungus will be more likely to survive and thrive near your toes in your shoe.
- Diabetes. Diabetes restricts the flow of blood to the extremities. Because of this, your immune system will be less prepared to fight off the fungal infection.
- Poor shoes. If you wear shoes that do not ventilate or effectively absorb perspiration well, fungus will be able to thrive near your feet.
Options To Treat Fungal Toenails
One of the most common foot problems we see is bunions, which also referred to as Hallux Valgus. The bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. The bone, which protrudes towards the inside of the foot, can sometimes push the big toe under or over the second toe.
Although bunions are a common foot deformity, there are many misconceptions about them. People may even go about their lives not realizing they have a bunion, because it does not initially cause pain. Bunions are a progressive disorder in which the bump becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, but some people may not exhibit any.
Treating Your Bunion: Tips from Your Podiatrist
Since bunions are bone deformities, they do not resolve by themselves. The first goal of bunion treatment is to relieve the pressure and pain that is caused by irritations, while the second is to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement. Some common methods used for treating your bunion and reducing pressure include:
- Protective padding to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
- Removal of corns and calluses on the foot.
- Carefully fitted footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
- Orthotic devices to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in the correct position for walking and standing.
- Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
- Splints for nighttime wear to help the toes and joint align properly.
When early treatments fail, or your bunion begins to worsen over time, a consultation with your podiatrist will be needed. Depending on the size of the enlargement and pain, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. It is important to not ignore foot pain, as it can worsen over time. Protect your feet and seek treatment immediately.
Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
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