Onychocryptosis or unguis incarnates also known as ingrown toenails is a painful condition and one that is best prevented rather than having to be dealt with. It is when the corner of the toenail (usually of the big toe) digs into the skin as the nail curls causing swelling, pain and if not dealt with swiftly, infection, and even an abscess. If you have had one before and want to know how to prevent ingrown toenails, or you have seen the discomfort it causes in others and want to know how to prevent it, this article is for you.
Fungal infection in the nail can change its shape and lead to the corners digging into the skin.Surprisingly enough there is a genetic thing for ingrown toenails! If your family is prone to them then you will be too. Wearing shoes that are tight, or always wearing high heels (ladies) makes the toes squeeze together and causes pressure which can make the nail grow abnormally.If there is a bad injury around the nail or it is damaged a lot from a regular activity (such as soccer) this can lead to ingrown nails.A lot of people do not cut their toenails properly, toenails should be just cut straight across no digging into the corners to round them.What you can do to prevent ingrown toenails
Clip your toenails carefully straight across the nail. Length should be longer than the skin of the top of the toe, to stop corners from digging in. No rounding and do not cut too short.Wear shoes that do not scrunch up your toes, for long periods. Choose better fitting and more comfortable shoes to prevent ingrown toenails. Keep your feet and toes clean and dry. File jagged edges with a nail file, only lightly go over the corners if you have to.Use a moisturizing lotion on your feet and toenails, it helps keep them soft and makes clipping easier, meaning you won’t feel tempted to dig around. If you take part in an activity where damage to the nail can happen or you work in an environment where things can fall on your feet make sure you wear the right shoes to prevent ingrown toenails, steel capped boots, soccer shoes not just trainers and so on.Treat fungal infections promptly.
If you do all of the above to prevent ingrown toenails but there is still a family history of the problem, there is little more you can do. If you have poor circulation or are a diabetic and have an ingrown toenail make sure you go to your doctor.
Dr. Soumya Podduturi is an Aesthetic Dermatologist, Dermatologist, Dermatosurgeon, Trichologist, Pediatric Dermatologist, Cosmetologist with 8 Years Experience