When it comes to our toenails most of us tend to forget all about them or the necessary care they require. But this doesn’t mean they aren’t a necessary factor. Not only do they make an impression when barefoot, but they can diagnose potential illnesses. In fact, when it comes to proper hygiene, says one podiatrist Montclair CA residents can perform several simple tasks to keep nails healthy.
How Do You Keep Your Nails Healthy?
To start. when walking barefoot, wear shoes and socks that guarantee support of the feet. You also want to cut the nails correctly — never shorter than the tip of the finger, square-shaped, without rounding the corners. Keep your feet and nails moisturized to prevent excessive dryness. Also, if you have hangnails, never pull them off because you could remove and damage the surrounding tissue. This type of damage is an invitation to fungus and bacteria, therefore, using nail clippers diminishes the likelihood that you’ll damage the skin.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails And How To Alleviate?
The main factors responsible for ingrown toenails are most often microtraumas like overly tight shoes and high heels that cause the compression of the toes, forcing the nais to grow abnormally. While those are the most common factors, there are other reasons;
- Improper cutting of the toenails that can promote penetration of the nail plate in the skin (the nails should be cut straight and not rounded)
- Fungal infections of the nail which can cause the development of a thickened or enlarged nail
- The nails of some people, in fact, are normally more rounded than those of others, or the underlying bone can be more stretched upwards and this increases the chances of developing ingrown nails.
The most common signs and symptoms of ingrown toenails are the pain, redness and swelling on the nail edge. In the early stages, the side of the toe reddens, becomes painful and is accompanied by slight swelling. Subsequently, the nail plate is affected by the growth of extra skin and tissue in the surrounding area, with the possible presence of an infection. This is the body’s response to the trauma of the nail that causes skin irritation. If an infection does develop, the swelling gets worse, with possible pus in the affected area. The thinner skin area may be surrounded by reddened skin and, in rare cases, there may be a fever. At this point, the only way to remedy the problem is with treatment from a podiatrist, who will open the toe and remove the ingrown nail.
There are ways to prevent ingrown toenails, as well as remedying the situation at the very start of your nail growing inward. To allow the nail to grow naturally, you can soak your feet in a warm bath. Wedging a cotton ball or Q-tip under the angle of the ingrown toenail so as to lift the nail will help to clip the ends. Experts also suggest leaving a piece of cotton underneath the edge of the nail so it will begin growing over the skin. Replace the cotton ball daily until the nail grows regularly, instead of growing into the skin.
If the pain becomes unbearable, or the toe is swollen the nail has probably grown far into the toe, and/or this could be a case of infection. If this is the case, it will require the services of an expert. Consult a doctor who may prescribe antibiotics and, in the worst case, remove the nail completely or partially.