How to Keep Ingrown Toenails from Ruining Your Summer Fun!
Afternoons by the pool. Going out for a run at dawn or dusk, when the air is a little cooler. Joining your friends or co-workers for a quick game of kickball or soccer. Who doesn’t love this time of year?
That’s a rhetorical question, but we’ll answer it anyway:
People with an ingrown toenail.
A bad ingrown toenail can flip the script and turn fun in the sun into a bummer summer. Hot, red, tender nails yelp out in pain at the slightest provocation—perhaps even from simply putting on your shoes.
Going for that run? Kicking a ball? Forget about it!
If you’ve been prone to ingrown toenails in the past, we recommend you pay a little extra attention to your toenails this summer. Learning how to prevent ingrown nails—or, failing that, what to do once you develop one—can help you keep the good times rolling!
Ingrown Toenail Prevention Strategies
In order to prevent ingrown toenails successfully, you need to understand the potential causes.
Unfortunately, one of the most common causes is one you can’t do much about—heredity. Sadly, some people are simply extra prone to the condition due to the natural shape of their nail.
Still, there are other factors you can control.
Cut your nails properly.
Improper trimming is a major contributing factor in many cases of ingrown toenails. For starters, you want to keep your nails at a regular, healthy length—not too long, and definitely not too short.
When nails are too short, they have more room to “grow in” or grow down into the surrounding flesh. You should cut no shorter than the edge of the toe.
Of course, if they’re too long, pressure from the inside of your shoes is more likely to press on them and change their course.
You should also take care not to round the corners too far. The ends of the nail should be slightly curved, as straight across can cut into the skin.
Opt for medical pedicures.
Pedicures are especially popular this time of year. Who doesn’t want to show off their freshly cut, freshly painted toes?
Unfortunately, not all spas cut toenails to medical standards. Cutting nails and cuticles too short—or using equipment that hasn’t been properly sterilized—can increase your risk of skin and nail problems. This includes ingrown toenails.
But that doesn’t mean you must gamble with each visit to the pedicurist. You can get a medical pedicure right here at the Kansas Foot Center!
You get the same pampering you’d get at any other spa, but you can feel confident that the equipment and services are provided to medical-grade standards, and Dr. Truong will be on standby if you need to consult on any foot or nail concerns.
Wear appropriate shoes.
Shoes that aren’t the right size or right fit for your chosen activity can cause a lot of pain and stress, including ingrown toenails.
Shoes that are too small are an obvious problem—they’ll pinch your toenails all the time, even when you aren’t doing anything.
However, shoes that are too big can be just as bad. If the shoes slide around on a lot on your feet, your toenails can slam into the front of the shoe again and again. That repetitive trauma can redirect a toenail into the danger zone over time.
Although bad shoes can be problematic any time of year, summer is especially dangerous since most people are more active at this time. Going for lots of long runs in a bad pair of shoes can cause a lot of trauma, really quickly.
Keep your feet clean and dry.
Feet are prone to getting sweaty, for two reasons. One, because they’re often locked up tight in your shoes or boots. And two, because the soles of the feet don’t actually have oil glands. They have to rely on sweat for lubrication.
Now, take that natural disadvantage, and apply bright, humid, 90+ degree Wichita summer weather. Yeah, your feet are going to sweat a lot.
But what does this have to do with ingrown toenails?
Simple. When you sweat, your skin gets softer. And soft, wet skin doesn’t put up much resistance to an encroaching nail edge or border.
During the summertime especially, breathable socks and shoes or comfortable, supportive sandals (NOT flip flops!) are going to be your best friends. If you do go closed toe, make sure you’re changing socks as soon as they get damp and rotating at least two pairs of shoes. This gives each pair a full day to dry out after use.
Treat Ingrown Toenails Promptly to Avoid Wrecking Your Summer
So, let’s say that, despite your best efforts, you develop an ingrown toenail this summer. What now?
The best way to deal with the problem is to go see Dr. Truong and have the ingrown nail border safely and painlessly removed. While home remedies for toenails can sometimes work, it’s more likely you’ll just be dragging out the pain and discomfort for the rest of the season.
Ingrown toenail procedures are quick and completely painless, aside from a quick pinch of local anesthesia. We do them all the time right in our office—no need to reappoint.
For those with recurring ingrown toenails, we will also perform a matrixectomy, which will permanently prevent the offending nail border from growing back. No more ingrown toenails, period—or at the very least, your odds of getting one along the same edge are extremely low.
Full healing will take a little time—several weeks to a couple of months, depending on how severe the problem was. But the upside is that you get relief right now and can go back to most regular activities within a day or two. That’s a pretty good deal!
If you need the doctor to take a look at a skin or nail condition—or you’d like to schedule a medical pedicure!—give the Kansas Foot Center a call today! You can reach our Wichita office at (866) 222-5177.