Ingrown toenails develop when the corner of the toenail starts to grow into the side of the toe, where the skin meets the nail itself. These occur when the skin is pressured onto the nail with some sort of force, usually because of the shoe itself pressing against the nail. The dangers of ingrown toenails increase with physical activity, since the toenails are pushed up against the shoe with more force during exercise. While a big portion of the risks of ingrown toenails comes from footwear and physical activity, an often overlooked factor is grooming of the nail itself.

Proper grooming of the toenails is important to maintain a nail that is resistant to growing into the skin. The first thing you should do while grooming your toenails is make sure that the corners aren’t left jagged. Jagged corners create a sharp edge that easily penetrates into the skin. Additionally, make sure to cut your toenails in a straight across direction. This is different from how fingernails are usually cut, and is an important step in avoiding ingrown toenails. When toenails are cut curved like fingernails, this makes it much easier for them to grow into the skin. The last step in grooming your toenails properly to avoid ingrowns is to keep them at a moderate length, and not too short or too long. When they are kept too long, it is easy for pressure from the shoe to press the nail into the skin. When they are cut too short, they can easily start to grow into the skin with little additional pressure.

If you have an ingrown toenail, you should be seen by a licensed podiatrist. Once an ingrown has developed, no grooming practice will help it disappear. To schedule your consultation with a podiatrist, give us a call at (424)-299-4627 or visit our website for more information.