Think you're tough as nails? Have you ever experienced an ingrown one? Our toenails, though often forgotten, are complex structures that can experience the same trials and tribulations as the other parts of our bodies. Even the seemingly simple issue of ingrown toenails can leave you immobile and in pain.

Experiencing Nail-biting Pain?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows and digs into the fleshy edges of your toe, instead of over them. Typically occurring in the big toe, the area becomes painful, tender, swollen, red, and warm to the touch. As the nail grows deeper inward, extra tissue and skin will grow around it. Yellow mucous and drainage become a factor as the body naturally attempts to correct the invasion. If left untreated, ingrown nails pose the risk of infection or formation of an abscess. When the toe becomes infected, the drainage will become cloudy and white. Other signs of infection include a light colored section of skin developing within the red, irritated area, and possibly the presence of a fever.

Hit the Nail on the Head

Have you ever wondered how people develop ingrown toenails? More often than not, this painful condition is the result of improper toenail trimming and poorly-fitted shoes. It can also occur after a fungal infection or evenstubbing your toe. Though not as common, they can even be a matter of inheritance.

Preventing future foot pain is up to you. You must carefully trim your nails. Be sure to avoid cutting themtoo short, but don't allow them to grow too long. They should be kept the length of your toe, no longer, no shorter. They should also be trimmed straight across—avoid following the natural, rounded curve of the edge of your toe. Lastly, your clipping tools should always be kept neat, clean, and dry.

Another mode used to prevent problems is the presence of proper footwear. Your shoes should never be tight around the toes. Don't knowingly place your nails at risk. Your shoes should always have enough room for your toes to wiggle and move. Other shoes to avoid are those with pointed toes, and even high heels in general. Never wear a shoe that leaves your limbs feeling suffocated, squished, or under pressure. Make smart footwear choices. Remember that the experts at Foot Doctor of The East Bay are always here to help and offer advice!  

We Treat Feet

Don't wait for infection to set in. Stop potential pain in its tracks. If your nail has begun to grow inward, try soaking your feet in lukewarm water 3 to 4 times a day. Afterward, be sure to keep them clean and dry. If you suspect infection or the condition appears to be getting worse, the nail may need to be lifted from the skin and a small piece of cotton or dental floss should be inserted. By doing so, the nail is encouraged to change directions and will begin to grow correctly. The cotton or dental floss should be replaced every day. If the pain worsens or you don't see improvement, contact our office. Some ingrown toenails require professional care or even surgery.

Your feet are important to us! Contact our experts, Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM today to find an effective treatment plan. Your toenails should never be a source of pain. Call one of our two offices located in Pleasanton or San Leandro, CA, today!

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