Dr Dale Peterson, Ingrown toenails

Ask the Doc: Ingrown Toenails

Ask the Doc: Ingrown Toenails

© 2001 Dr Dale Peterson; © 2006 Wellness Clubs of America.com

Can you recommend anything for ingrown toenails? J. M.

Dear J. M.: Ingrown toenails occur when the leading edge of the nail becomes imbedded in the soft tissue of the toe. Some individuals are particularly susceptible to this because they have a wider than average nail. Certain individuals will need to have the edges of the nail permanently removed to eliminate the problem. Many, however, can correct the problem and prevent recurrences by taking a few simple steps.

First, and most importantly, purchase shoes that do not place pressure on the toes. Shoes with toe boxes that are too narrow for the feet place the wearer at high risk for developing ingrown nails.

Secondly, never, ever round off the corners of a toenail when cutting it. Fingernail clippers, which are curved and designed to round the nail edges should never be used to trim a toenail. Toenail clippers with a straight or minimally curved edge should be used. The nail should be cut straight across, leaving the leading edge protruding slightly from the “quick” of the nail.

If a nail is beginning to ingrow cut a “V” in the center and file down the central surface of the nail to create “give” and remove pressure from the edges. Place a wisp of cotton under the leading edge of the nail to encourage it to grow out rather than dig into the toe.

If the area is becoming red and inflamed soak the toe in warm soapy water and apply an antiseptic gel or antibiotic ointment morning and evening. –Dr. Dale

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