How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

Aug 26, 2020

If you have ever had an ingrown toenail, you know how bothersome and distracting a presence it can be – and that’s just with a mild case. When one becomes infected or particularly severe, it can quickly go from nuisance to nightmare!

Wouldn’t it be better to just never have an ingrown toenail at all, or at least as few of them as you can?

For many people, a few easy steps can go a long way toward reducing their risk of an ingrown toenail from occurring! It’s tough to guarantee that one will never happen, but every simple action you can take toward ingrown toenail prevention is one worth taking.

(But what if you’ve already tried a lot of tips and they just keep coming back anyway? Don’t worry. We’ll have a section for you later.) 

Let’s go over some of the most helpful ways you can reduce your ingrown toenail risks and help prevent them from occurring. And if you have an ingrown toenail right now that’s in need of treatment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for an appointment. We’ll be happy to help!

Properly Trimming Your Toenails

Toenail trimming is certainly not rocket science, but many people have grown up with habits that can put them at higher risk of ingrown toenails. You can’t be blamed for something you may never have been told how to do properly!

Here are the essentials to follow for good toenail trimming:

  • Do not cut the nail too short; always leave a little bit of overhang at the end. Cutting in too far can not only hurt, but it can encourage the skin to fold over one or both sides of the nail, increasing the risk of it becoming ingrown along the way.
  • Trim straight across the nail. Do not widely curve at the edges. If you end up with sharp corners that you need to pare down, a nail file or emery board can help gently take the edge off.
  • Use the right tool for the job. Fingernail clippers are too small and require more cuts, leaving more opportunities for nails to snag and tear. Use a good pair of toenail trimmers that cut well. If your nails are especially thick, you might want to try clipping them after a shower, when water has softened them a bit.

Give Toes More Room in Your Footwear

Any form of footwear that causes your toes to become crammed together or up against the inside of the shoe is exerting excess pressure that may force a toenail to become ingrown. In fact, one of the reasons ingrown toenails tend to be more common in children and teens is that their feet are often outgrowing their footwear.

A good shoe should have a roomy toe box that allows you a comfortable amount of wiggle room. Also avoid high heels that force the front of your foot forward, where your toes can cram up against the front of the shoe.

Prevent Ingrown Toenails

Protect Your Toes from Trauma

When your toenail becomes injured, it may not recover or regrow as well as it should. This can often open the door for ingrown toenails to occur, especially if the nail has partially or fully fallen off.

Any sort of job, hobby, or activity that involves regularly carrying heavy items should always have protective boots as a requirement. (That also means not wearing sandals while helping your friend move their sofa!)

Additionally, make sure your footwear is suitable for any activities that could have repetitive impacts on the toenails. Running shoes, for example, should have an accommodating enough toe box but not leave your foot constantly sliding back and forth, ramming your toes into the shoe with every step. That’s how black toenails can happen, and ingrown toenails can develop shortly afterward.

What if I Keep Getting Ingrown Toenails Anyway?

The above tips can go a long way for many people, but there are some who may suffer regularly from ingrown toenails no matter what steps they take.

In these cases, it is very possible that you were born with nails that have a natural tendency to become curved and ingrown. If others in your family struggle with ingrown toenails regularly, that serves as good evidence of this possibility.

But what can be done in such a circumstance? We still have a means of preventing future ingrown toenails, but it needs professional attention.

We can remove a small portion of nail that becomes ingrown, or in some cases the entire nail. We can then treat the underlying nail bed to prevent new nails from growing back.

It might sound a bit drastic at first, but it is a simple procedure we can perform right in the office and under local anesthesia so you feel no pain from it. No longer having a toenail does not have any major impacts on your health, either. In fact, it can often be the better way to go if it stops the pain and potential infection of recurring ingrown toenails!

We’re Here for All Ingrown Toenail Concerns

Do not hesitate to call us anytime an ingrown toenail is bothering you, whether you feel it is mild or severe. Both of our offices are always happy to provide effective, painless treatment and advice on how to prevent the problem rearing its head once more. 

  • Princeton – (609) 924-8333
  • Roselle Park – (908) 687-5757

Princeton Office