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How to Prevent Ingrown Nails

How to Prevent Ingrown Nails

We are sure everyone has heard, or recited, the old proverb: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure to avoid ingrown toenails.” Okay, you caught us. We added the part about the ingrown toenails, because it is a condition that is so easily preventable. Why suffer (and trust us, you want to avoid ingrown toenails) when the prevention is so simple?

Avoiding ingrown toenails 101: Cut your toenails straight across, and don't cut into corners.

It's really that simple. Many people do not know how to cut toenails to avoid ingrown nails. Toenails become ingrown because most of us are obsessed with cutting our nails (mainly our toenails) super short, and that includes digging your clipper or scissor deep into the corners. When you cut or clip too deep, the corner or side of the nail may grow into the soft skin. Just leave those corners alone, and your toenails should grow properly and painlessly.

Other things that may help to avoid ingrown nails.

Cutting toenails across should be enough prevention to avoid ingrown toenails. Additionally, it's always a good idea to soak your feet first, to soften the nails before cutting. It's also important to keep your nails trimmed, just not too short (remember those risky corners). Shoes that fit properly are also important for longer and overall foot care, and checking your feet and toes regularly should be standard hygiene practice.

What to do if a nail has grown in?

Hopefully with proper cutting, this will never happen, but if it does you should be able to treat a more mild case of ingrown nails at home. Soak your feet several times a day in warm water to reduce any swelling. After soaking, keep your feet dry. Carefully lift the afflicted nail with a toenail lifter and insert a small piece of cotton under the nail's edge. This should help the nail to begin growing out past the skin. There are over-the-counter creams that can be applied, and the nail should be covered to protect any further aggravation. Like any serious affliction, more painful and swollen ingrown nails should immediately be treated by a doctor.

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