How to Treat an Ingrown Toenail

ingrown toenails

If you have ever experienced the pain and discomfort of an ingrown toenail, you have most likely wondered about the best way to fix it. The condition is common enough that it helps to be aware of prevention and treatment, especially if you like to keep your nails short. Today, we will talk about what ingrown toenails are and how you can treat one.

What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?

Toenails are great protectors of the soft tissue on top of our toes, and they provide stability for the pads below that allow us to keep our balance. They usually grow without problems, but there are a few ways that ingrown toenails can develop.

One potential issue arises when the corners of your nail – toward the sides of your toe – grow downward, with the front of the nail pushing into the skin. Over time, this causes pain, inflammation, and discomfort, and if left untreated it can cause bleeding and possibly severe infection.

Another common cause of ingrown nails occurs when the nail is trimmed too short or the corners of the nail are too rounded. Before the nail has time to fully grow back, skin and tissue around the nail build up and grows over the edge or corners of it. The nail continues to grow, but it is blocked by the surrounding tissue – resulting in pain, inflammation, and infection.

There are other causes, too – everything from injury to posture to genetics. But one thing always remains the same: they are painful, inconvenient, and uncomfortable.

Can you leave an ingrown toenail?

This is not recommended, even if the pain were not an issue (which it almost always will be). If left alone, bacteria present in the moist, dark spaces around your toenails will easily find their way into the cuts and exposed tissue that an ingrown toenail causes. This will cause additional pain and swelling as an infection sets in and starts to spread. In fact, systemic infections like this can be quite dangerous – leading to sepsis, tissue decay, and nerve damage – so taking action is vital to prevent infection.

Ingrown Toenail Treatment

If caught early enough – before a major infection, and ideally even before the toe becomes inflamed – then dealing with an ingrown toenail is a basic, though specialized, procedure. 

Getting a pedicure at a reputable spa is one helpful solution. By “reputable”, we are referring to a spa that has trained and knowledgeable staff with direct experience in successfully dealing with ingrown toenails. Here, technicians will trim the nail so that it no longer cuts into the skin, and make sure that any exposed tissue is cleaned, to help with current or potential infections. From there, you will get at-home care tips to help prevent the ingrowth from recurring. These technicians should even be able to recommend when to see a doctor if more invasive intervention is required – because in some cases, surgical treatment to remove part or all of the nail may be necessary.

Before following through with any ingrown toenail remedies at a spa, make sure that the spa strictly adheres to all disinfecting and cleanliness standards. This goes beyond a few sprays and a wipe down with a rag – tools should be disinfected and materials clean and unused. When you talk to the staff, they should know the cleaning procedures and be willing to show you the products they use for proper disinfection – as well as being able to explain the problem of the ingrown nail, the correction for it, and suitable treatments to prevent further infection.

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

With the amount of pain and stress that comes with ingrown toenails, it is worth knowing how you can prevent them from occurring in the first place.

When you trim your toenails, the most important things to remember are not to cut the corners of the nails too short, and to cut correctly around the edges so that they do not grow into the side of the nail bed. If you do end up going a bit too short, you can reduce the risk of infection by keeping your foot – and the nail – clean and dry. For an extra assurance, you can also get products that keep your toenails soft, preventing them from curving and cutting into the skin.

Lastly, take a look at your shoes. Did you know that tight footwear can increase the likelihood of ingrown nails? Even if it feels comfortable, it may be too tight where the nail sits against the front of the shoe and disrupt growth.

Treating Ingrown Toenails at Spa Escape

If you have a persistent ingrown toenail that is causing you pain and you want to make sure it is dealt with properly, book a session with a professional technician at Spa Escape in downtown Calgary. We will trim, clean, and disinfect your nails, and quickly have you on your way to recovery. The staff at Spa Escape are experienced in treating ingrown toenails, and they are also able to provide you with great home care treatment and advice.  You will wonder why you waited so long before coming in!

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