Finally, summer is right around the corner.
This means sunny afternoons by the pool, delicious barbeques with family and friends, or simply relaxing during a trip to the beach as you soak up some rays (while using appropriate skin protection, of course!). Most of us have been eagerly waiting for this time of year to come back around – especially with the winter we’ve had this year.
But for others, the arrival of a warmer season can be dreadful. And if you are dealing with an ingrown toenail, then you already know why that is – a bad case of an ingrown toenail can quickly flip the script and turn fun in the sun into a bummer summer.
Indeed, pretty toenails are always in style, but even more so in the midst of summer, when our feet are often on display in sandals and flip-flops. Not to mention that those hot, red, tender nails that cause pain even from the slightest touch can keep you from participating in the summer activities you love most.
Thinking of going for a hike? Or maybe planning a friendly soccer game with your coworkers?
With an ingrown toenail, you can forget about it – this more-than-inconvenient problem will most likely prevent you from doing it all!
And when this annoying condition makes you want to hide your toes or wince in pain, learning how to treat and prevent it will help you keep the good times rolling not only in the summer but all year around.
What is an Ingrown Toenail?
Essentially, an ingrown toenail happens when the edge of a nail grows into the soft skin surrounding it. Doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, right? Well, it might not … until that nagging pain, redness and swelling actually starts interfering with your summer fun!
And the truth is that most people will have to endure this condition to some degree at one point or another in their life. Though certain factors do make some of us more likely than others to have ingrown toenails, including those who wear shoes that are too tight or cut toenails too short. Some people are even prone to developing them due to their foot structure.
Overall, roughly 7 million people in the United States are dealing with an ingrown toenail at any given time. But just because this is a common problem doesn’t mean you should quickly dismiss it as being normal or “not a big deal.” When left untreated, an ingrown toenail can even affect the underlying bone and lead to a serious infection.
So the best thing to do is prevent it from happening in the first place. Which takes us to our next point.
Prevention is Key
As it is true with most health problems, preventing a condition (like an ingrown toenail) from happening in the first place is the best thing to do. And that’s why we compiled a few of the most tried-and-true ways to help you steer clear from ingrown toenails this summer:
Cut your toenails the right way.
Improper trimming is actually a major contributing factor in many cases of ingrown toenails.
When trimming your nails, make sure to keep them at a regular, healthy length – not too long, not too short. Try to clip them even with the edge of the toe and avoid trimming them into a round shape (instead trim your nails straight across).
Wear the right shoes.
Obviously, shoes that are too small are not appropriate no matter what foot problem you are trying to avoid. However, it is still worth mentioning that tight, or small, footwear will pinch your toes and drastically increase your risk of developing an ingrown toenail.
The same can be said about shoes that are too big. When shoes allow your feet to slide around a lot, your toenails may continuously slam into the front of the shoe, and this repetitive motion can change the growing pattern of a toenail, pushing it toward the surrounding skin.
Keep your feet clean and dry.
Feet are prone to getting sweaty – they are often stuffed in shoes and our soles don’t actually have oil glands (so they have to rely on sweat to keep skin appropriately moist and from drying out). But what does that have to do with ingrown toenails?
Well, when you sweat, your skin gets softer, and soft, wet skin doesn’t put up much resistance to an encroaching nail edge or border.
You should wear breathable socks and shoes, or comfortable and supportive sandals to keep your feet safe and dry. Note that flip-flops should be avoided as much as possible – this type of footwear lacks proper support and can lead to conditions more serious than the ingrown toenail you are trying to prevent.
Also, make sure to change your socks as soon as they get damp, as well as rotate between at least two pairs of shoes every other day to allow each pair a full day to dry out after every use.
Now, we also understand that sometimes ingrown toenails can still happen despite taking all preventative measures available. And, if that is the case for you, there is no need to panic! At Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates, we can provide you with some much-needed relief.
Treat Ingrown Toenails Now to Avoid Ruining Your Summer!
The best way to deal with a persistent ingrown toenail is to come visit our office and have the nail border safely removed. Though home remedies for ingrown toenails may sometimes be effective, it’s likely you will just be dragging out the pain and discomfort for the rest of the season.
But at our Illinois office we offer great solutions to your troubles, including:
- Prescribed topical and oral medications.
- Partial removal of the nail with a local anesthetic.
- Lifting the nail to allow extra relief and faster healing.
- Matrixectomy to permanently prevent the nail border from growing.
What’s better: these procedures are quick, completely painless, and we do them all the time right in our office! And that’s not all – once the treatment is complete, you will get immediate relief from your symptoms and you can go back to most regular activities within 1-2 days. So there is no reason to delay treatment.
Find the Relief You Need at Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates
The bottom line is that ingrown toenails don’t have to ruin precious summer moments with your family and friends. We can help you get rid of this annoying problem so that this warm season can turn out better than you ever imagined – pain-free.
Just give us a call at (309) 661-9975 to schedule an appointment, or simply fill out our handy request form online to have one of our staff members reach out to you.